Rogers Court, a landmark facility with 20 units of self-contained accommodation for those rough sleeping, or at risk of doing so, opened in Bedford Borough in August.
The first residents are set to move into the facility, which has been remodelled and refurbished by Kier Construction working with their local supply chain in less than six months, following a successful funding bid by the council to the Government.
The building has been handed over to the council and SMART Bedford, who provide services for those rough sleeping locally, and in this case, they will be providing support services to the residents of Rogers Court 24/7. After a tender process, SMART was awarded a three-year contract to develop and run this innovative service, giving a stable base for residents and allowing them a better chance of leading independent lives.
Mayor Dave Hodgson said:
“This facility will be an incredible asset to the support we can give to those rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping. Throughout COVID-19, we have taken the approach of ‘Everyone In’ and done our best to engage with people and provide support to some of the most vulnerable in our community.
“We have worked proactively with SMART and other partners to find innovative ways to provide support, and help people make long-term improvements in their lives and benefit from this care and support to become independent.”
Cllr Colleen Atkins, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:
“Rogers Court is an important step forward and an example of how seriously the council takes homelessness and the support that we give to rough sleepers in our endeavour to eradicate rough sleeping.”
Anita McCallum, CEO, SMART CJS, added:
“We are so delighted that rough sleepers are getting this much-needed investment in the form of excellent, independent units. These will be invaluable in getting people back on their feet, often after experiencing trauma and other difficulties in their lives.
We have seen that when more comprehensive support is given to those vulnerably housed or sleeping rough, they recover more quickly and can then get back into education, training and employment opportunities.”