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Homeless charity criticises council for lack of communication about winter plans

A homeless charity has welcomed the council’s new accomodation programme for homeless people in the Royal Borough – but said that communication needs to be improved.

On Thursday it was announced the Royal Borough had partnered with community interest company – Browns Community Services – to provide a new three stage programme which will help rough sleepers find permanent housing.

The programme will see those identified as rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping jointly assessed by the housing options team and the rough sleeper outreach team and offered accomodation.

During stage two those assessed and ready to move on will be given resettlement support by Brown Community Services which includes support with health, finances, employment and life skills. This will be given for a minimum of 12 weeks and for up to two years.

Stage three is when the service user is ready for independent accomodation and supported into the private rental sector or social housing accomodation with support for up to six months from the council’s outreach team.

Commenting on the new strategy, Nick Roberts, project manager at Windsor Homeless Project said: “We welcome the positive moves taken by the council, to help our rough sleepers.

“However, communication needs to be improved if the new approach is to achieve its goals. We are all trying to support these individuals as best we can, but clarity is essential, so all services can do their part.”

Nick said he was not informed by the council about the re-opening of its homeless shelter – John West House – in Maidenhead on Thursday.

He said he has also not been informed about a proposed new shelter in Eton, a disused building owned by Eton College.

Addressing these concerns, Cllr Ross McWilliams (Con, Cox Green) lead member for housing, communications and youth engagement, said: “I have absolutely taken on board that we need to be clearer.

“We want to work with our partners and always want to be clear with each other because if we don’t work together we can’t help people.”

(W) Anyone at risk of sleeping rough can call the housing duty team on 01628 683803 or the Emergency Duty Team on 01344 786543.

If you see a rough sleeper you can also call 0300 500 0914 or visit Streetlink giving the details of the rough sleeper and they will notify the relevant local authority.

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