Monday, 20 July 2020

CHESTERFIELD NIGHTSHELTER UPDATE

The management team for the Chesterfield Nightshelter met in June to find out the results of last winter and to look at this year. 

In total we had 128 guests through the door, 29 of them didn’t stay overnight, just came for food or company. 99 guests stayed overnight, 82 of them identified as male and 17 as female 15 guests stayed for just 1 night, 50 guests stayed 5 nights or less (this included the 15 above). 

At time of closing we knew of 20 guests we had helped into accommodation, then Pathways gave us feedback on a further 17 guests being housed. Of the 99 guests accessed for at least one night, 50 stayed 5 nights or less, which leaves 49, and of these 37 were housed, which is an amazing result for the shelter. Only 2 guests stayed more than half the nights, and the most nights someone stayed was 75 nights, and he was housed towards the end, the other guest we are not sure of his whereabouts. 

We had an amazing 193 volunteers give their time which is awesome, 4 overnight staff, and a project manager. 



We appreciate the shelter last winter didn’t end as we would have wanted it to, we had the arrival of Coronavirus which meant we had to close the shelter a week earlier than we had planned to given advice from national and local government. 

Last month a National Meeting was held (via Zoom) hosted by Housing Justice, MHCLG (The government department responsilble for housing and homelessness amongst other things) and Public Health England. The purpose of the meeting, was to look at whether in the current climate nightshelters should be considered. Although there has been no formal guidance been issued the message from this meeting is that nightshelters should not be considered for the foreseeable future and this was for a number of reasons:
 - Shared air space- guests would be breathing in the same air space, along with volunteers and staff. Guests would be doing this for up to 12 hours.
 - Toilet and washing facilities should ideally be 1 person to 1 bathroom as hotels have provided, but as per a residential setting PHE recommend a maximum of 4 people to 1 bathroom. 
- Transient group, many shelters have different people staying each night, this would make it difficult to manage the risks of transference further. 

But sadly the likelihood is there will not be a shelter in Chesterfield this coming winter, as it will most likely be the case in other towns and cities around the country. But we are in conversation with the local authority to see what alternative solutions could be offered, whilst keeping guests, volunteers and staff all safe. I know this will come as a disappointment but we need to follow advice and keep everyone safe, we will be praying for a good outcome, that the homeless of Chesterfield are cared for and looked after as they have been over the winter and as they were over the Covid 19 period. 

Hope House homeless provision project is back on track hopefully for Dec 2020 opening. Trustees welcome all offers of support, financial or practical, and invite those interested in the project to contact the charity through their website, 
www.hopehousechesterfield.co.uk 
email: admin@hopehousechesterfield.co.uk 
or by calling (07307) 201718.