In today’s society I like many others find it difficult to comprehend why homelessness has reached such a crisis with some 8,000 people in the UK now considered homeless (taken from a report by homeless charity Crisis UK). The UK Government recently published a nationwide strategy in a bid to end homelessness by 2027. Albeit it’s great that we’re now addressing this widespread issue. At The Foxton Centre we have been dealing with homelessness in the community for the last 49 years.
In regard to our work with homeless people in the city. It is sad to say that despite the investment provided by the Rough Sleepers Initiative street homelessness is more prominent at the moment with numbers rising here and across the country its very distressing to see.
We thought it might be useful to outline what the Foxton Centre Homeless Services currently provide for rough sleepers
• Winterwatch (Severe Weather Emergency Provision) we have opened the Foxton Youth and Community Centre in bad weather on 13 occasions for 10 people each time this winter providing an emergency response out of the weather. Preston City Council will be providing this service in the future.
• Outreach we have a team of outreach staff based at our day centre who go out at various times day evening and early morning to make contact with rough sleepers.
• Day Centre we provide the Foxton Homeless Day Centre on Fox St in Preston, This is currently open 5 days a week providing food, clothing, a chance to shower access to drug treatment, health services etc. Our centre opened on the 28th Dec 2022. In January we dealt with 145 individuals who made 381 visits to the centre.
• Foxton Emergency Accommodation Service, this provides a 14 bed unit for people directly from the street. This opened in June 2022 and has been full since that date with a 97% occupancy rate. Sadly move on places from this unit have been difficult to find leading to people staying longer and less availability for current and new rough sleepers.
• RSI partnership with Community Gateway Association, we have move on properties with Gateway who have a pledge for 40 flats
• Eight places with Calico another local housing association
• Three flats with Onward Housing
• Nine places in our womens houses
• Two studio flats in a property we bought and converted following the Big Sleep Out at Preston North End
• Sixteen places on our Housing First Scheme
• Plus we support other clients who have moved in over 50’s schemes etc
In total that’s well over 100 rough sleepers / former rough sleepers who are provided with supported accommodation each night in our city by the Foxton Centre and our partners.
We’d love to do more but its very hard to find accommodation we currently have just one vacancy in our properties which will be filled this week (Feb 2023).
We did use hotels and B&B’s quite extensively through covid and into last winter sadly a lot of this accommodation is no longer available in the city.
We celebrate what we have managed to do and It upsets our staff team that we cant offer more, though we have some ideas how we can do more..
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If you’d like to take part in the Foxton@50 campaign go to https://www.thefoxtoncentre.co.uk/50th-anniversary to find out how you can get involved.
To make a donation go to https://www.thefoxtoncentre.co.uk/donate/money we welcome monetary donations as well as good quality clothing, toiletries and long-life food parcels. By supporting The Foxton Centre your helping to make a difference to someone that’s less fortunate than yourself. This has the potential to change someone’s life.
CEO, The Foxton Centre