Friday 14 June 2024
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Nottingham

Rough sleepers staying at Nottingham winter shelter up by 78%

Emmanuel House Support Centre’s Winter Shelter has seen a 78% increase in people staying at its Winter Shelter compared to its previous year. 

Between 9 October 2023 and 8 April 2024, the Winter Shelter provided 5,693 nights protection for 190 people. Last year’s 2022-2023 project supported 107 people.

When this year’s shelter opened in a building on the University of Nottingham campus, it was accommodating up to 27 people every night.

Due to the increasing number of referrals and demand for the service, in February 2024 Emmanuel House increased the capacity to 40 people a night. Trent Vineyard church also provided space for an additional 10 beds in a room at its Arches premises on Lenton Lane from early February for nine weeks.

Denis Tully, CEO at Emmanuel House, said: “Alongside relationship breakdown and eviction from rented accommodation, the eviction of people from Home Office accommodation has significantly contributed to the increased use of this year’s Winter Shelter. The Winter Shelter has played an important role in supporting people through the transition from asylum Home Office provision into more stable accommodation.” 

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The Winter Shelter provided 24-hour support and three meals a day for people who were rough sleeping during the worst of the winter months. Emmanuel House staff worked hard to find guests more sustainable accommodation, as well as providing specialist mental health support and access to physical health appointments. 

Of the 190 people who stayed at the Winter Shelter this year, the charity’s case workers supported 90 people into more permanent accommodation – an average of 3.46 people every week for 26 weeks. 42 people are now living in private rented accommodation, 14 people moved into other types of accommodation, 30 people moved to supported accommodation and four people reconnected with friends or family.

Emmanuel House is looking to continue the success of the project and hopes to re-open the Winter Shelter later in the year. In the meantime, the charity is providing emergency night time-only accommodation at its Hockley support centre. 

Emmanuel House is also looking for spaces with smaller units of accommodation, including a 6–8-bedroom House of Multiple Occupancy to rent in Nottingham city. To speak to someone about this, please email viv.dickinson@emmanuelhouse.org.uk.

The Winter Shelter was located on The University of Nottingham campus for the third year running, thanks to the university’s estates team.

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39 individual people volunteered at the 2023-2024 Winter Shelter, as well as 26 different groups from local organisations. These groups cooked evening meals for the guests and provided the ingredients.

Viv Dickinson, Head of Accommodation Services at Emmanuel House, said: “Thank you to all staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to prevent vulnerable people from returning to homelessness. We’d also like to thank the University of Nottingham and Trent Vineyard for helping us provide shelter for our beneficiaries.”

An example of how Emmanuel House supported people at this year’s Winter Shelter: 

Jamie* suddenly found himself homeless when his landlord told him they were selling his rented house and evicted him with a Section 21 notice. He contacted a local housing association, who referred him to the Winter Shelter.

He wasn’t working with any other agencies and he was facing a night sleeping on the streets.  

Jamie has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and struggles with social interaction, which raised concerns about his vulnerability and how he would cope with the communal layout and sleeping arrangements at the shelter. He didn’t present a risk to himself or others, he’d had no experience with the criminal justice system or any history of drug or alcohol misuse. Following a conversation with the housing association, we decided to offer him a bed. Without the emergency accommodation provided by the Winter Shelter, Jamie would have been rough sleeping on the streets of Nottingham.

When he first arrived at the Winter Shelter, he was very anxious and upset about his situation. He was scared about his future prospects, his safety and whether or not he’d find a new home. But he soon fitted in to life at the Winter Shelter and found the other residents to be very welcoming and protective towards him.

The housing association checked up on him a couple of days after he had arrived. Jamie told them there were a lot of very nice people at the shelter. He told them he felt safe and less anxious.

The housing association found Jamie a room in a shared house and a week later, he signed up for the tenancy with the support of Nottingham Private Rented Assistance Scheme (NPRAS), which helped with the deposit and rent.

Jamie is now living in a shared house and another agency is supporting him to manage his bills and maintain his tenancy.

*Names have been changed

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