Night Shelter GEAR closes in Gloucester
HOMELESS people had their last sleep at Gloucester's night shelter before being dispersed across the city and Cheltenham this morning.
Because Gloucestershire County Council is changing the way it deals with homeless people overnight, Gloucester Night Shelter in Llanthony Road is closing.
This morning, clients will be bussed to three sites in Cheltenham, understood to be in Prestbury Road, Burton Street and St George's Street, and in Gloucester at Swan Road and Worcester Street.
Some fear moving away from the nearby GEAR's (Gloucestershire Emergency Accommodation Resource's) support in Southgate Street's Vaughan Centre will make their lives harder.
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"I cannot believe it's shutting," said Bill Jones, 57, who has lived on the street for 11 years. "If it was not for these people, I don't know what I'd do."
Peter Brown, 27, said: "I will be alright but some people might not be, they are going to find it hard. They need support nearby."
Gloucestershire County Council is splitting funding for emergency beds for the homeless between Cheltenham and Gloucester and will provide two new hostels with 14 beds, and 17 more across the county.
"Our approach is that we want to take people out of homelessness," said P3 spokesman Andrew Regan. "We are not offering a night shelter – it's more than that. It's about working with individuals to get them a place of their own."
Paul McLain, county council Supporting People Partnership Board chairman, said: "The Supporting People Partnership Board believe that the new service will provide homeless people within the county the chance to work towards a stable lifestyle and a home of their own."
Earlier this week, GEAR chief executive Brian Jones said: "The night shelter is closing and for GEAR there are other major roads to be travelled and explored. GEAR Projects exist to relieve sickness, poverty and distress amongst the most vulnerably housed and the homeless and rough-sleeping population of Gloucestershire."