The Thanet Winter Shelter, providing accommodation and services for people on the streets, opens on November 11 but needs venues, volunteers and donations.
The service is free to anyone who needs to access it and referrals are made by Thanet’s Rough Sleeper Service, RISE. At least 20 beds will be provided each night as well as a hot evening meal and breakfast the next morning.
The Thanet shelter has been running for four years and has supported more than 100 people over that time. It is run by the Salvation Army and Thanet churches with support from the council and volunteers.
Extra funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) means that, as last year, the shelter can it run for 19 weeks, closing on March 29, 2020.
Thanet District Council has put in £20,000 with a further £10,000 from MHCLG as well as charitable donations.
To mark World Homeless Day tomorrow (October 10), people can donate or get involved in the Shelter:
- To volunteer your time to help run the shelter or to offer professional skills such as dentistry, hairdressing, chiropody, please visit the Thanet Winter Shelter volunteer page. Full training and ongoing support will be provided
- Help with fundraising and donate via the Thanet Winter Shelter Go Fund Me page **
- Buy something specific for the Shelter via the Amazon Wish List
- Donations of food or bedding are also gratefully received. Please see the website or contact the Salvation Army in Ramsgate
- Alternatively cash or cheques can be given to TWS via The Salvation Army, 167 High Street, Ramsgate CT11 9TT and BACS details are available upon request.
- Advice is always to donate to registered charities rather than give cash to those on the streets.
Thanet Winter Shelter’s new manager, Danilo Luongo said: “A large number of people have already shown their support for the campaign and have come forward to volunteer to help with shifts which is amazing.
“Without venues, we cannot run the Shelter so I am appealing to churches, organisations and individuals who have hall space for one or more evenings per week, please get in touch if you can help, Danilo@ThanetWinterShelter.org.”
The Winter Shelter is focused on finding a permanent solution to people’s housing needs. It works closely with the RISE team to provide personalised support plans to help find secure and long-term accommodation. These also address any barriers which have prevented them from finding and keeping a home in the past. The RISE team will also help guests prepare for and find training and employment.
Cllr Lesley-Ann Game, Thanet District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods said: “Living on the streets is one of the most frightening, dangerous and isolating experiences anyone could face. Thanet’s Winter Shelter means that those in need on the Isle will receive a caring arm to help them rebuild their lives, access the support they need and address the reasons for their rough sleeping.”
Support from RISE
The RISE project, which officially launched on World Homeless Day last year, provides support for rough sleepers. The team is made up of three outreach workers, a substance misuse and a mental health professional. It also includes dedicated landlord officers who source the right accommodation and then work closely with people to help them retain it.
A total of 163 people have been supported by the RISE team, 69 of which have been housed. Ninety-three people received additional ‘non-housing related’ support that they needed in order to keep accommodation.
Seventeen people have been reconnected to areas where they had a local support network. The team is still supporting a further 20 people who have recently been housed, helping them adjust so they can keep their new tenancies.
The RISE project, which stands for ‘Rough sleeper Intervention, Support and Empowerment’, is a partnership between Thanet District Council, Kent County Council Adult Social Care, Serveco and the Forward Trust. It also works alongside Pathways to Independence, Paramount Independent Property Services, the Salvation Army, Gap project and the Winter Shelter.