'Smooth transition' for homeless people in county to new shelters
NEW shelters for the homeless in Gloucestershire have now been operating for a week – and the charity in charge says the transition has been smooth.
P3 has taken over from Gloucestershire Emergency Accommodation Resources (Gear) after winning the county council contract to run shelters last year.
But Gear chief executive Brian Jones said people who used the now-closed night shelter in Llanthony Road, Gloucester, were not given enough notice about the move to their new accommodation.
A P3 operations director and two other staff spent six weeks in Gloucester to get to know service users at the Gear project before the handover. Andrew Regan, from P3, said the charity is helping people feel at home for the first time.
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"It is frustrating to hear of negative stories that are not true," he said.
"There have been a few issues with residents' groups in St Paul's in Cheltenham and we will be looking to address those.
"We do not want to get off on a negative footing and we want to be improving communities and adding to the area by helping people.
"It will not be a revolving door situation as we are giving people a home.
"It will take time for people to understand what we are about and our ethos.
"We have had some service users tell us it is the first time they have taken off their coat and shoes in a long time.
"Others have taken a shower for the first time in ages and there has generally been a very positive reaction so far, particularly with the quality of accommodation."
P3 has opened an eight-bed shelter in Gloucester and an additional 17 beds in different units across the county. Brian Jones from Gear said it was too early to tell how successful the new service will be.
"It has only been a week and we will know more after a month," he said.
"If the service provided by P3 is half as good as its marketing, it will be a very good set up – but only time will tell. I had an email on the Tuesday night telling me where the service users would be sent two days later.
"That wasn't long enough and more information should have been available earlier. Each should have had a letter making them aware of the changes and where they were likely to be going.
"People need to be treated with respect, and that didn't happen."