Liverpool City Council has unveiled plans to help rough sleepers all year round by transforming its temporary night shelter into a full-time facility.
Last November, the city council and its partners opened Labre House on Camden Street as a temporary winter shelter for rough sleepers. The centre became the first of its kind in the country to accept anyone through the doors, regardless of their background or circumstances.
The council works with Liverpool-based charity The Whitechapel Centre, to identify anyone sleeping rough in the city and direct them into Labre House and day centre services.
As well as providing a place to sleep, Labre House gives users access to facilities including phones and the internet to inform family members they are safe and to find training and job opportunities. Labre House is seen as a route away from the streets into settled accommodation.
The centre has been so well-used that in February the council doubled its capacity to help cope with increased demand during the cold weather.
Now, the council has submitted a planning application which will change Labre House’s status as a temporary shelter, making it a permanent year-round facility.
The council and its partners work proactively to prevent 7,000 from becoming homeless in Liverpool each year.
The new plan is part of a longer term strategy to support homeless people and rough sleepers under the council’s Always Room Inside banner.
Future plans include the possible creation of a new, purpose-built ‘street lifestyles hub’ on land opposite Labre House.
The proposed £3.5M project could see a 2,000 square metre, four storey street lifestyle hub on the site, which would provide accommodation, support services, training and even employment opportunities.
With plans for a hotel and offices/training centre as part of the site, the project could bring a much-needed economic boost to the local area.
Liverpool City Council’s Interim Director for Adult Services and Health, Dyane Aspinall, said: “Our original intention was to refurbish the existing Labre House but building a new one will be the most cost-effective solution. It will give the opportunity to create something really special to help some of the most disadvantaged people in our community.”
Once the new building opens, the existing Labre House would be sold to help offset the cost of the construction.
If all goes according to plan, it is anticipated that the application for the new centre will be submitted in the summer.