A HOMELESSNESS charity has launched an urgent £30,000 appeal after warning Mansfield’s rough sleeping problem could be about to get even worse.
Framework launched a public plea for the cash on Friday after warning its emergency accommodation unit in the town is full.
It needs to recruit another support worker to help people settle into permanent housing, managers say.
Without it the Sherwood Street centre will have to keep turning people away, adding to the area’s already ‘persistent and stubborn’ rough sleeping figures.
Chad reported in December how campaigners are still recording dozens of people sleeping rough on Mansfield’s streets.
Sherwood Street Centre manager Michelle Hanson says around five to 10 people are coming to the centre for help every week.
The centre opened its 15-bed emergency accommodation unit in July 2011.
Around two thirds of the residents are now ready to move out to permanent homes but need more support.
Said Michelle: “We need someone to work specifically on helping people get into a home, helping them get organised to pay bills, provide advice and support them because some can be very lonely.”
Some of the people helped by the charity have spent years on the streets, and others are also tackling drink and drug problems.
“There are rough sleepers and people coming out of prison who want to turn their lives around but have no other option than to go back on the streets. That is not right and we must do something about it,” added Michelle.
Current centre user Chris Roberts (33) is now ready to move out after eight years spent sleeping on sofas or on the streets.
“If there was a support worker to help with that it would make it much easier,” he said.
“Eight years is a long time to live like that, people perhaps don’t realise how hard it can be getting back to normal.”
Since its opening, 12 people have moved successfully from the centre to private tenancies but demand for it is now so great even its waiting list is currently closed.
Said Framework operations manager, Dave Newmarch: “A dedicated support service would help clear this backlog and help some extremely vulnerable people move away from homelessness forever.”
The £30,000 appeal had its official launch at the Sherwood Street centre on Friday, backed by politicians including Mansfield MP Alan Meale.
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/mansfieldappeal.
The Nottingham-based charity hopes to raise more than £10,000 toward it with its annual Mansfield Big Snore sleep-out on 3rd February, organised by St Mark’s Church.
To find out more visit www.mansfieldbigsnore.org or contact 0115 9709515 or Mansfield 633494.