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'Rough sleeping problem to rise in Bradford'
A charity has warned that the problem of rough sleepers could get worse when an emergency shelter with capacity for 63 closes its doors with the loss of 25 jobs next week.
Adam Clark, a project co-ordinator at Hope Housing, which provides accommodation in volunteers homes, said that the first three months of 2012 were “ridiculously” busy for his charity.
He warned of the increasing issue of Bradford’s rough sleepers which includes homeowners failing to meet mortgage repayments, employed people struggling to make ends meet and Eastern Europeans promised a dream life in Bradford, but instead being exploited and forced into false labour.
He said that the problem could be compounded when Lawley House, the Salvation Army’s Lifehouse in Leeds Road, and the largest centre of its kind in Bradford closes on May 31.
A spokesman for the Salvation Army anticipated the problem of homeless people worsening because of the Lawley House closure.
“We always had more than 90 per cent occupancy and the closure is going to have an impact on the homelessness situation in Bradford, it is bound to,” he said.
Mr Clark said that homelessness was starting to affect a different level of society such as those with mortgage repossessions and those with failing businesses.
“The first three months were ridiculously busy for us and more than we could cope with,” Mr Clark said.
City Centre vicar, the Reverend Chris Howson, said that he had seen an increase in the number of people asking for sleeping bags in the last year, while St Margaret's Church in Leeds Old Road, Thornbury, and St James the Great Church in Galloway Lane, Pudsey, have also appealed for more sleeping bags for the homeless.
“There needs to be a long-term solution for the rough sleepers in Bradford,” Mr Howson said.
“Bradford needs to have proper emergency accommodation for rough sleepers. The Council might be doing something but I am not aware of it.”
Bradford Council chiefs decided not to renew a contract for the Salvation Army to provide its services as part of a review of homeless services.
Jayne Hellowell, the Council’s service manager for commissioning, said none of the residents at Lawley House would be disadvantaged by the re-direction of funding, or left without accommodation. Most of the residents at the hostel have been helped by Bradford Council to move on to better accommodation and the remainder will be supported to do the same,” she added.