Extra support for those in need this winter

As temperatures continue to fall, Test Valley Borough Council is ramping up its work to prevent and relieve homelessness during the tough winter months.

A number of support options are available for those who are facing housing problems or sleeping rough.

The council is committed to offering accommodation to anyone who presents themselves as homeless throughout the year. The successful partnership with Two Saints also means the authority is able to offer further options to people needing help during periods of severe cold weather.

Valley Church, on Bridge Street provides hot meals and washing facilities as well as wider support for those impacted by homelessness between December and February.

Bridge House also delivers community support for households threatened with homelessness and an outreach service for rough sleepers. Bridge House can be reached via 01264 369679.

A drop-in service and accommodation can also be accessed through the Andover Crisis and Support Centre on New Street through Monday to Friday, and Foodbanks are available at Alexandra Road, Andover and Romsey’s Industrial Estate for those in need.

Portfolio holder for housing and environmental health, councillor Phil Bundy said:

The council realises that winter is one of the most difficult times for anyone who is not in a permanent home. There are so many causes that lead to homelessness, whether it’s suffering from mental health issues, addiction or financial problems. It is important that we go the extra mile and offer as much support as we can through our partnerships to help people with their situation.

Though the council is proud of the work we have done so far to try to tackle homelessness on a long-term basis, we will always strive to deliver the best service possible. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank our partners across the statutory and voluntary sectors for their ongoing support. The council cannot effectively tackle homelessness if it acts alone.

In March, the council put £100,000 into a pilot scheme to begin a new innovative way of tackling the issue. Successes have so far included reducing the number of households living in temporary accommodation by 24 per cent, and preventing 130 households becoming homeless.

James McDermott of Two Saints added:

We are pleased with the progress we have made alongside Test Valley Borough Council in offering those who are homeless the support needed to help them build a brighter future. Over the winter months, we will make sure that accommodation is available for those sleeping rough during the year and particularly in any periods of cold weather. Through this, we can work with people to succeed and help them on a long-term basis.”

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