As you can imagine, things are having to be different this year in regard to the Winter Night Shelter.
COVID-19 means that Kingdom Way Trust and the Eastbourne churches will be unable this winter to offer the same dormitory-style winter night shelter accommodation as has been provided for the past nine years. However, the Local Authority are committed to make winter accommodation provision available.
Eastbourne Borough Council have responded to the need to provide single room accommodation in the current situation. They have leased three 6-bed properties to provide additional temporary accommodation to those who would otherwise be street homeless. This will run very differently from the Winter Night Shelter and the Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI) team will take responsibility for assessing and placing residents and for managing the houses.
The RSI team have asked the Winter Night Shelter volunteers to continue to be involved in this Winter Temporary Accommodation. Due to the Covid-19 guidelines we are restricted in how much interaction will be possible with residents.
We are providing hot meals and having some social interaction with the residents during the evenings and at weekends.
It is disappointing that we will not be able to operate the Winter Night Shelter this year but we are all getting used to things not being the same and having to do things differently. We are pleased that the council is providing the Temporary Accommodation and that we are able to help with meal provision and volunteer support of the residents.
For anyone in the position of being homeless they should make a referral to Streetlink via https://www.streetlink.org.uk/ . or by calling 0300 500 0914. As these referrals come through, the Council will make offers to all known/verified rough sleepers. Some of these will be winter provision; some will have other more suitable accommodation depending on their needs.
Additionally, rough sleepers are encouraged to approach the Housing Needs Team at 01323 410000 for an assessment, if they haven’t already done so.
SWEP will operate again this year. Notification will be sent to partner agencies when SWEP is activated/deactivated. As regards access, the Housing Needs Team (01323 410000) should be contacted during office hours; and the Out of Hours number (01323 644422) after 5.00pm or over the weekend.