Liverpool to create new shelter for rough sleepers

Liverpool is to set up a new severe weather shelter for people sleeping rough in its city centre this winter.

Liverpool City Council has submitted a planning application to establish the shelter on Camden Street, off London Road in what was a former dance studio.

The previous shelter, located at St Stephen’s Church, on Crown Street, has been sold for redevelopment but the new site is deemed a better location as it is based closer to a range of other support services.

The new shelter will continue to be operated by The Whitechapel Centre and if planning is approved, following public consultation, it would be operational by mid-October.

Last winter the Mayor of Liverpool changed the rules to increase the shelter’s operations by allowing it to open on any given night where the temperature is forecast to drop below 2°c (instead of three consecutive nights at below 0°c), and that policy will continue this winter.

That decision was made following a report that showed that despite the city council funding 750 beds every night for people to take up, as part of a wider £10.8m annual programme to support the city’s homeless, a core number of around 15 to 20 are remaining on the city’s streets even in near to freezing conditions.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, who is to publish an independent report into improving services for Rough Sleepers next week, said: ”The relocation of Liverpool’s Severe Weather Shelter has been on the cards for some time and this new location is a far better place as it is much closer to other support services in the city centre.

“The shelter plays a key role in helping us reach out to those who, for whatever their reasons, refuse to accept help.

“It was never open enough until I changed the weather trigger rule and this new location means our colleagues at The Whitechapel Centre will have a better connected platform to continue their excellent work.”

As well as the Severe Weather Shelter and funding other services, Liverpool City Council also promotes a helpline to ensure those sleeping on the streets receive support.

The No Second Night Out initiative says that while there may be many reasons why somebody sleeps rough for one night there is no reason why they need to spend a second night on the streets.

By ringing 0300 123 2041 or emailing outreach workers from the Whitechapel Centre will provide a rapid response to try and ensure no new rough sleeper spends more than a single night on the streets.

Since No Second Night Out started in 2012, hundreds of people have been helped after people contacted the service, in the first six months of this year 175 calls were made to it.

Liverpool Waterfront