Plans to create sheltered accommodation for up to 25 homeless people in Poole have been exclusively revealed to The Breaker by a Poole councillor.
The project, to be completed in April, will aim to address the rising numbers of homeless people in the area and will offer support to those with drug and alcohol problems.
As part of the scheme, which will be funded through local budgets, the council will work with colleges to try to teach homeless people skills which they could then use to get work.
Poole councillor Stephen Rollo-Smith said Poole is seeing rising homelessness and that this initiative will help these people get back on their feet. Speaking on the reasons for the rise, he said:
“It’s mainly a demographic shift. Homeless people are moving out of Bournemouth and big cities like London and into smaller towns. There are people who simply can’t afford to pay for their own accommodation, people whose families have broken down or who’ve lost their jobs.”
He added: “From there it’s a slippery slope to alcohol and drug abuse.”
Paul McConnell, housing support officer for Bournemouth YMCA, an organisation which provides support and accommodation to homeless people, welcomed the plans:
“It’s a very good thing. You can’t get accommodation in Bournemouth if you don’t have a connection to the area, and there’s been too little accommodation for the homeless in Poole.”
A spokesperson for Bournemouth Council’s Street Services Team said: “There’s currently nowhere in Poole where you can turn up and get a bed for the night… At the last count there were 10 people sleeping rough in Poole and 16 in Bournemouth.”
When asked whether Poole needed a 25-person shelter despite the low homeless figures, he added: “These numbers are only a snapshot of one night. The chances are the counters will probably have missed some people. Also homelessness [in the area] is on the rise.”
What do you think about creating sheltered accommodation in Poole?