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6 February 2017, 18:35 | Updated: 6 February 2017, 18:39
Northampton’s emergency night shelter will open its doors for the first time this evening.
The Night Shelter has the capacity to offer temporary overnight accommodation for up to 20 local men from 9pm til 9am every night.
The shelter will act as a stepping stone for people who are sleeping rough and are ready to engage with local services to move into more settled housing.
More than a hundred volunteers helped to transform the former British Rail Social Club on St Andrew’s Road into a safe, practical space. Another team of volunteers will work at the shelter during its opening hours with the support of two full-time members of staff.
Councillor Stephen Hibbert, cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, said:
"Our aim is to end the need for people to sleep rough in Northampton. The opening of the night shelter takes us a big step closer to achieving that aim – it is basic, but it’s safe and warm and we’ll offer something to eat. Crucially, people coming to the night shelter can talk to our staff and volunteers and hopefully get the advice and support they need to get back on their feet.
I’d like to thank everyone who has made this night shelter possible. From the people who donated toiletries to those who decorated the night shelter and have volunteered their time, this shelter is the result of a huge community effort that will save and transform lives."
Everyone who wants to use the night shelter will need to be referred to it by one of the five approved referral agencies; Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire Police, the Hope Centre, the Bridge Project, and S2S.
Over 30 local agencies are working in partnership to end the need for people to sleep rough in Northampton. The temporary emergency night shelter is one of 10 objectives set out in the “together we change lives” strategy.
For more information on becoming a volunteer, visit www.northampton.gov.uk/northamptonnightshelter.
If you notice someone sleeping rough in Northampton, please visit www.streetlink.org.uk and complete the online form. The information you provide will then be sent to the Borough Council’s street outreach team.