A night shelter in Redbridge, which is run by SHP, will open its doors around the clock from January to step up support for rough sleepers during the winter months. 

The Ryedale centre first opened last December as a winter night shelter with beds for 32 people. 

Until now, the former nursing home was only open at night - but thanks to a grant from The Mayor of London’s Winter Programme Fund, the shelter is set to open 24 hours a day from January 2020 until the end of March. 

SHP’s Redbridge Service Manager Melanie Malcolsaid: "While the service has been very successful in reducing the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of Redbridge, until now clients would have to return to the streets for the daytime hours between 8am and 8pm. Having had somewhere warm to sleep and eat and someone to talk to during the evenings, they found themselves wandering the streets until the shelter re-opens.  This has also limited how much work we could do with them to address their longer term situation.” 

Originally winter-only, the shelter was soon extended to an all year round service by Redbridge Council and has since assisted more than 130 rough sleepers. As well as accommodation and meals, SHP provides a range of support including health checks, support with addiction and mental health, and longer-term housing options to move people permanently off the streets. The shelter has remained at full capacity since it opened and to date, staff have been able to find ‘move on’ options for 49 people, with 10 more currently on a waiting list.    

"This additional funding will allow SHP to provide casework and support throughout the day, with the ability to liase with a wide range of agencies during normal office hours. We hope this will further strengthen our capacity to address the array of needs such as substance use, and physical and mental ill-health." said Melanie.

She added: "Our ultimate aim at the shelter is to get people out of homelessness for good. This means first getting them equipped to move off the streets into temporary housing. We do this by working with our other Redbridge Services which include three hostels, a community support service and Housing First housing programme."

Figures released in October from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show an estimated 726 homeless people died nationwide last year - a 22% rise on the year before and the biggest increase since records began in 2013. 

Melanie said: "These are people who would otherwise be sleeping out in the cold and be at serious risk of fatality. No-one should have to sleep on the streets of Redbridge this Christmas."