Royal Borough announces homeless could use town hall for 'emergency accommodation'

Homeless people could be staying in Maidenhead Town Hall after the council offered to provide temporary accommodation for them following plummeting temperatures last week.

The Royal Borough said it triggered a ‘Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)’ after the cold weather worsened, which allows homeless people to get in touch with its housing team, which will find them a place to stay.

Seven people used the service last week.

Cllr Simon Dudley, leader of the council, said: “By activating the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, local homeless people will be helped into emergency accommodation to protect them when the weather is at its worst.

“Our intention is to ensure all our local vulnerable people are helped to secure accommodation so that they do not sleep outside in the cold weather.

“Where needed, the council will use any of its buildings that could be utilised for emergency accommodation.

“I am pleased with the great progress we have made with the Brett Foundation to help them open these new centres, but they are not open yet and we need to do all we can now to secure warm accommodation for our residents in the short term as well.

“We are committed to doing more to help those at risk and I would encourage anyone who is fearful they may have nowhere to stay to contact us.

“Our officers have more intervention options the earlier they become aware of a potential issue.”

The Royal Borough’s SWEP now covers all winter months and is no longer activated based on whether the temperature drops below zero.

The accommodation is designed to last until a new homeless centre is opened next year, which the council is working with the Brett Foundation to open.

Between April 2015 and March 2016, about 1,500 households were prevented from becoming homeless and 230 were placed in housing association accommodation by the council.

It can help people remain in their house by talking to landlords, offering advice with mortgage troubles and can provide accommodation with a deposit loan.

Members of the housing team can be contacted at the Town Hall in St Ives Road, Maidenhead or at York House, Windsor.

Landlords can call 01628 683673 or 01628 683800 to discuss renting with the Royal Borough’s housing options team.

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