Rough sleepers in the city have been accommodated in local hotels and offered additional support to help them move off the streets permanently following the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of this initiative, which is being funded by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and is being delivered by Brighter Futures, a service which offers support for people living with complex needs, The Crown Hotel and its sister hotel, The Roebuck Hotel, are accommodating over 50 rough sleepers during the coronavirus outbreak. The hotel accommodation is allowing them to follow Government guidelines on social distancing and self-isolation.
Help and advice is also being offered from within The Crown Hotel to help people address the other challenges they may be facing. This includes access to a range of local support services for both their mental and physical health. Staff from Brighter Futures are located in the hotels seven days a week to help people access this support during their stay.
The accommodation and support are being offered as part of the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ scheme to help keep rough sleepers off the streets during the coronavirus pandemic and to help move them off the streets permanently once lockdown restrictions are eased.
Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “This is another brilliant example of how the city council, its partners and local businesses have come together to support some of the most vulnerable members of our community during the coronavirus outbreak. Central Government has asked all councils to ensure that nobody has to sleep rough during the current pandemic, and we have worked closely with Brighter Futures and The Crown Hotel to ensure that rough sleepers have a safe place to stay.
“Additionally, we understand that providing a roof over someone’s head is often not the only answer to dealing with the many challenges that some of these people may face. We are providing funding for specialist advice, support and security to work alongside hotel staff to ensure that people are able to start their journey towards accessing more secure accommodation and to support them to move on from the streets when this pandemic is over.”
Gemma Finn, Stoke-on-Trent rough sleeper coordinator at Brighter Futures, says: “Our Rough Sleeper Team has put a lot of thought into setting this up and work tirelessly to help people move on from the streets every day of the year. Finding accommodation and a place to stay for people is the first step, but we know so much more needs to be done if we’re to help them to move away from the streets in the long-term.
“We have a great relationship with so many partner organisations in Stoke-on-Trent. We lead a rough sleeper action group for the city, we discuss individual cases and agree on a support plan we think will work best for each person, this is another good example of working together to end homelessness in Stoke-on-Trent.”
Nicola Johnson, operational manager for Homelessness Services at Brighter Futures says: "This is working well, customers are able to access support with ease.
"We are not only offering a safe environment for the delivery of support sessions, but the staff are working hard to deliver a range of activities aimed at addressing mindfulness and wellbeing. Customers can access support seven days a week which is vital in their long-term journey.
"We have formed an excellent working relationship with the hotel management team, ensuring customers’ safety needs are adhered to at all times."
Mr Ryan, group manager for the Crown Hotel Group said: “The Crown Hotel is beyond proud of what is being achieved during the current pandemic - we are housing customers from the area with a range of different support needs which are also being addressed within the hotel.
“We have worked with partners to ensure everything that was required in order to facilitate such a fantastic service which is easily accessible for all customers on the ground floor following social distancing and personal protective equipment guidelines. I am proud of all our teams in the hotels and how hard they are working during these challenging times.”
For all media enquiries only please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232395.
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