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Harrogate Homeless Project - Day 4

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6:02am 22nd March 2012
(Updated 9:18am 2nd September 2013)

 

We've heard from the homeless and the people who dedicate their spare time to helping, now it's the council's turn to speak.

This week, Stray FM has been investigating the problem of homelessness and the work of the Harrogate Homeless Project.

The charity offers direct access hostel accommodation for up to 16 adults.

It also operates a day service which offers hot food, laundry and shower facilities and support to rough sleepers or those in vulnerable situations.

The council works with the charity, referring anyone it feels that needs emergency accommodation.

It also has a support service which aims to prevent homelessness, along with a mediation service.

Jean Butterfield, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: "The first port of call from the council's point of view is the Housing Options team. That's often the best way because it prevents homelessness.

"Those that are already homeless can also approach the team and they will point them in the right direction."

Homelessness is a problem in Harrogate which seems to go unnoticed.

Many people are unaware that there are rough sleepers who hide away so as not to be noticed by the public or get moved on by police.

Councillor Butterfield added: "We do actually rehome people on a temporary basis. It may be in a hostel or, worst case scenario, it will be a bed and breakfast. We do put a roof over their head."

Many people who have been homeless say that it is too difficult to get council accommodation in Harrogate.

The council has admitted that it does struggle to meet demand for council housing and that targets are also hard to hit.

However, it says the number of council houses in the district isn't to blame for the number of homeless people.

Councillor Butterfield explained: "My understanding of rough sleepers, is that there is always a bed available.

"I think we can't always provide what some people want. But Harrogate Homeless Project do a fantastic job."

For more information about the Harrogate Homeless Project, including the hostel and Springboard, click here.

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