Wigan’s long-awaited flagship homeless hub has finally opened.
The borough’s two hubs, with Leigh’s site already open, are at the forefront of the town hall’s new approach to helping rough sleepers.
Based at the town centre’s Coops Building – with refurbishment works costing £363k – the Wigan site will provide emergency beds and access to vital support services.
Coun Terry Halliwell, cabinet member for welfare and reform, said he was ‘so pleased’ the facility will be open before Christmas, meeting the council’s original timescale.
He added: “Tackling homelessness is more than just offering a bed for the night. It’s about supporting people from the moment they walk through the door, understanding their circumstances and helping them to rebuild their lives.
“By supporting them in this way we can prevent them reaching crisis point in the future. This work is even more important at this time of year.”
A council finance report tabled for cabinet members last month revealed the cost of the refurbishment of office space at the Coops Building to be £363,000, provided through the council’s capital programme.
The opening of the hub brings the number of emergency beds available across the borough to 45, with extra provision provided at St George’s Church in Wigan town centre as part of the Greater Manchester Bed Every Night scheme.
Coun Halliwell said: “We have made significant investments to help support homeless services and will continue to work with providers to deliver a cohesive approach so services can work together to better understand people’s needs.”
When using the emergency accommodation individuals are given a hot meal and access to a range of support services to prevent them rough sleeping in the future, the town hall said.Bosses had pledged earlier in the year the hub would be open in December.
The new facilities are run by the town’s homeless charity, The Brick.
Director Louise Green said: “The Brick delivers homeless provision in both Wigan and Leigh and we value our partners who enable us to reach as many people as possible.
“This is the first year we have been able to provide so many bed spaces, thanks to the support from Wigan council, and together we want to ensure that there are viable options for those who find themselves homeless.”
If residents see a homeless person on the streets, they are advised to email firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as possible (including their location) or contact The Brick via web chat at www.thebrick.org.uk
Those who find themselves on the streets can also ring the out of hours service on 01942 828777.
Over the last few days, Wigan Athltic players have been helping out at The Brick to highlight to plight of the homeless.