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Grant funding to expand homeless night shelter

A night shelter providing emergency accommodation and support for homeless people in Wisbech is set to expand its operation.

Night Shelter

Fenland District Council has secured a £134,897 grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government's Controlling Migration Fund to expand the Wisbech Emergency Night Shelter, operated by homelessness charity, the Ferry Project.

The funding will not only increase the number of beds at the shelter from 14 to 18, but also provide additional staff to offer people more support to access employment and medical services.

The night shelter opened in Norfolk Street six years ago to provide urgent relief to those in need and also ease community tensions caused by migrants sleeping rough on the streets.

In the last two years there has been a 77% rise in the number of people using the shelter, with 4,839 nights of emergency accommodation provided in 2016, compared with 2,728 nights in 2014. Last year, 33% of people using the shelter were British and 63% were European. It has also been central to tackling community issues such as exploitation by gangmasters and rogue landlords.

Due to the increase in demand the night shelter is often full and an average of four people are turned away every night. It also works on a first come, first served basis - fuelling resentment when local people miss out.

Councillor Mike Cornwell, Fenland District Council's Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: "People being turned away from the night shelter means people again starting to sleep rough, increasing fear of crime and impacting on the local community.

"An increase in night shelter provision means we can meet the needs of all homeless people in Wisbech, helping them to get a settled home and employment and reducing community tensions caused by street homelessness."

Article added: August 14, 2017