A new service to help rough sleepers off the streets is proving a success before it has even officially started.

Hope Housing’s assessment centre will be celebrated and officially opened on Wednesday but the project get underway on February 28 and has already helped 16 people into long-term accommodation, with two more expected to be housed this week.

“It’s definitely having an impact. We’ve been able to give people that stability and support to engage in looking for accommodation,” said Hope Housing Project Co-ordinator Adam Clark. “It’s a really positive thing to be involved in, getting people off the streets.”

The scheme is the result of a year’s work between the charity, Bradford Council, social landlord Incommunities and the city’s cold weather provision group, which helps rough sleepers when temperatures fall below zero.

The centre, on Green Lane, is housed in offices belonging to social housing landlord Incommunities. It offers emergency accommodation in a hall which can sleep six people and also has two twin rooms. During the day the centre is used to offer people advice about finding accommodation.

The idea for a new service followed an assessment of Bradford’s homelessness carried out at the end of last winter.

“There were large numbers of people coming through to the provision and we looked to develop a service that would address some of the issues,” Mr Clark said.

“There’s a lot of people on the streets and we want to be able to help as many as possible.”

The project is part of a national strategy to help reduce homelessness called No Second Night Out. The charity has been helping homeless people in Bradford since November 2008, but the new centre means more people can receive support.

Incommunities’ Assistant Chief Executive for Neighbourhood Services Adrienne Reid said: “We are delighted by the successful launch of this homeless service designed to help people access sustainable accommodation.

“Following planning permission we have worked closely with Hope Housing to transform the Incommunities’ owned building into a dual-purpose housing centre by day and, if needed, an emergency overnight shelter.”

The assessment centre has previously been welcomed by Bradford Council’s member for housing, planning and transport, Councillor Val Slater.

To refer someone to the assessment centre, which is funded by the Homeless Transition Fund and the Department for Communities and Local Government, call (01274) 900764.