A NEW hostel looks set to open to tackle the surge in homelessness.
Warwick District Council (WDC) has proposed to run William Walsgrove House in Lillington Road by 2020, providing 22 beds for use by rough sleepers.
The building is currently run by charity Home Group to support those at risk of homelessness along with those on the streets.
If plans go ahead Home Group will relocate to Beauchamp House in Warwick – which closed in 2016 following government funding cuts.
The council has applied for funding from the government’s £30million scheme to eliminate rough sleeping by 2027.
If its bid for £1.2million is turned down the council has pledged to still fund half of the amount.
Along with a new hostel the council also hopes to provide five houses to accommodate those transitioning from the streets.
It also plans to employ staff to help those with health and addiction problems and to help people access support.
Green party councillor Jonathan Chilvers welcomed the move but says more needs to be done to help those before they become homeless.
He told the Observer: “The council deserves a lot of credit for putting its money where its mouth is and investing in support and bed spaces for people who are rough sleeping, even if the financial bid to government isn’t successful.
“For years central government has been cutting funding for hostels so it’s not surprising we’ve seen rough sleeping in Leamington rise, but this money will go some way to rebuilding provision.
“It’s imperative that we also remember that the relatively small numbers of rough sleepers are the visible tip of the homeless iceberg.
“There are many hundreds of ‘hidden homeless’ in our towns – people who sleep on friend’s floors, making it difficult to hold a job down or keep a family together.
“We must make sure we invest our money and energy into supporting all those who are homeless before they end up actually rough sleeping.
“Prevention is always better than cure.”
With 21 rough sleepers across Warwick district in Autumn, the figure has more than doubled since 2015 – making Warwick district the worst in the West Midlands for rough sleeping.
The figures prompted councillors, local organisations and Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western to announced they would be working together to tackle rough sleeping, focusing on the health, care and support of the homeless.
Results of the government funding bid will be announced in June.