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Dartford Council Leader confirms funding for Winter Shelter

Last Updated: 03 Jan 2018 11:27am

A volunteer project aimed at helping homeless men and women stay warm and safe during the cold winter nights has received a huge financial boost with confirmation that Dartford Borough Council is to meet its running costs this winter.

The Dartford Churches Winter Shelter opens its doors on January 2nd and provides a hot meal, companionship and a warm and comfortable place to sleep for men and women who might otherwise find themselves sleeping rough.

The Shelter is now in its fifth year and moves nightly between seven different churches until 31st March 2018 providing safe accommodation where  guests may access services and advice covering healthcare, welfare benefits and housing.

The Council's offer to meet running costs will allow the project's own fund-raising efforts to provide additional professional support and advice to guests.

Council Leader Jeremy Kite said  " The Council does more than some might realise to tackle homelessness right through the year but winter is a obviously a challenging time for rough sleepers.  We have a long- standing and successful partnership with homelessness charity Porchlight to support those in crisis and I am delighted to confirm that the Council is now to supplement that by meeting the day-to-day running costs of the Dartford Churches Winter Shelter.  The aim is to provide yet another bridge between rough sleeping and a longer term solution for those in need."

Councillor Kite said the Shelter provides a safe and secure space where

guests can receive the personal support they need   "Our homelessness

team have worked closely with Porchlight for years and  know that the issues facing some can be far more complex than might appear on the surface.  Our aim is to know each person at risk of sleeping rough and find the right kind of support for them. The Dartford Churches Winter Shelter is a key partner in providing that help."

Dartford Churches Winter Shelter organiser John Atkins said " In previous years we have funded the Shelter entirely from generous donations and contributions from local churches so the news that Dartford Borough Council is to meet the cost could not be more welcome.  It will lift the financial pressure and allow us to focus on providing more advice and support to guests.  Helping people in homeless crisis works best in partnership and we're proud of the way everyone - churches, volunteers, the council, charities and agencies have come together to support our work.  We are very grateful for the Council's contribution and confidence."

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