Homeless protester allowed to camp at town hall as rough sleepers receive accommodation

Will Taylor

Will Taylor

Homeless protester allowed to camp at town hall as rough sleepers receive accommodation

Jason Verdaguer outside the town hall

Five homeless people have moved into a half-way house supported by the Brett Foundation.

Sue Brett, who runs the charity and the Maidenhead Foodshare, has been working with the Royal Borough to better support rough sleepers.

The halfway house is in Norfolk Road, owned by a private landlord, and the Brett Foundation has tenancy.

One member of the halfway house is already set to leave, having secured a full-time job.

Sue said: “He just needed that boost. It is easier when you have got somewhere to live.

“The others we are working with, they are intending to get a job.”

She said the borough is also looking to identify another property that can be used as a halfway house for more people.

She added she had been involved in meetings with the Royal Borough and was confident plans to alleviate the homeless issue in the town were moving ahead ‘slow but steady’.

The issue hit the headlines earlier this year when campaign group Born SL6 pitched tents outside Maidenhead Town Hall. The borough evicted the group and took out an injunction preventing them from returning for 12 months.

This week the group’s co-founder Jason Verdaguer pitched two tents on the lawn again.

He said yesterday (Wednesday) that the leader of the council Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside), who was deputy leader at the time of the injunction hearing, had allowed him to until he found a home.

“I had a meeting with Cllr Dudley two weeks ago.” said Mr Verdaguer. “Mr Dudley has been very helpful to me.”

He was optimistic he would find somewhere to live soon but will continue to campaign even if he was homed, he said.

His tent is in the spot Born SL6 pitched up on during protests in April.

Much of the group has since dissolved, with some members finding accommodation, and Mr Verdaguer is now the only person present.

Cllr Dudley said: “Using legal powers to move people around isn’t going to solve the issue.”

He said the council was looking to open a day centre and a halfway house, plans which will be presented to councillors in the coming weeks.

He added: “We are coming up with a solution.”

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