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Call for more beds for Bournemouth's rough sleepers
A BOURNEMOUTH woman is fighting for more beds to be made available for rough sleepers in the town.
Corinne Dickins said the town needs more spaces for homeless people after noticing the numbers left out in the cold this winter.
The church-goer believes more of the town’s community spaces, including halls, should be made available for those in need.
Mrs Dickins said: “There is always a reason for someone to become homeless.
“It could be the loss of a job, a relationship breakdown or a mental illness.
“ It could happen to any of us,” she added.
“I am concerned because the town’s night shelter apparently costs £3.30 per night. You get a private room for the money, but it does seem like a lot for someone living on the street.
“I think we should see halls opening their doors to those who need somewhere to sleep on a cold night.”
Mrs Dickins said she became aware of the problem after being stopped on her way home from church three times by homeless people.
“I believe that each person who approached me asking for help had a genuine need,” she said.
“They told me they were sleeping in an old shed in a disused building. I also spoke to someone the day before Christmas who was sat in the Square.
“They had nowhere to go on Christmas Eve. There was nowhere to sleep because the shelters were full.”
St Paul’s Hostel in Bournemouth, the only shelter in the town operated by the council, accepts homeless people over the age of 18 for a maximum of three months.
It has space for 40 people, with 36 single rooms. The council also funds an Assertive Outreach Rough Sleepers, which works throughout the year to provide support.
A spokesperson from the Bournemouth Churches Housing Association, which runs St Paul’s Hostel, said the shelter is at capacity, with more still needing a room.
Development manager Sarah Ward said: “In addition to the 40 rooms available each night at 10 St Paul’s, we have, since December 1, been offering a further 10 bed spaces each night as part of our winter emergency provision.”
She added that the demand is primarily from local people.
“Frontline services like 10 St Paul’s are vital to ensure that emergency accommodation is available to those who find themselves homeless,” she said.