Help for homeless in the big freeze

HOMELESS people in Wigan are being given shelter as temperatures plummet below zero.

Wigan Council is working with Wigan and Leigh Housing (WALH) and English Churches Housing Group (ECHG) to provide rooms in supported housing for rough sleepers because of the prolonged freeze.

Government guidelines under the Cold Weather provision suggest that when the temperature is forecast to be zero or below for three or more consecutive nights, councils should provide shelter for rough sleepers.

Wigan Council has followed this guidance, using funding from a mixture of Central and Local Government grant and General Fund.

Steve Sargent, housing strategy manager, said: “Because of this year’s prolonged and extreme cold weather, Wigan Council, WALH and ECHG have worked together to ensure rough sleepers get support by using communal rooms in supported housing.

“As temperatures don’t look likely to rise in the near future, the cold weather provision will continue until at least the New Year.

“To access the service, WALH Property Shops in Wigan 01942 404128 and Leigh 01942 404092 are open from 9am to 2pm today and tomorrow.

“At any other time during the Christmas period, the Central Duty Team can deal with emergency homelessness inquiries on 828777.”

Trish Green, centre manager at The Brick, in Hallgate, which provides support and facilties for homeless people, said: “It is fantastic all the agencies in Wigan are pulling together in this way.”

Volunteers at The Brick provided Christmas dinner for homeless people on Christmas Day.

Trish added: “It is not right to have people living on the streets at Christmas, so if we can help make it better for them, we will.”

Rev Steven Evans, of Winstanley Living Faith Free Methodist Church, has been working with homeless people in Warrington, following the death of a homeless man in freezing temperatures.