Shelter from the chill for Rugby’s homeless

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COLD winter nights have become more bearable for Rugby’s homeless people thanks to a new scheme.

The Winter Shelter project began last week. It involves churches across the town opening on different nights of the week, offering food, bedding and warmth.

It’s run by the charity Hope 4, whose chairman, Dr Michael Bochenski, had been preparing since March. He said: “December is about getting established - all the logistics are running well.

“We’ve had only a handful of visitors so far, but it’s a question of making sure we have all our fire engines in place for January, which is likely to be the crunch month.”

The charity estimates that about 30 people sleep rough in Rugby - but that there are many more who have unstable housing arrangements and are not known to the authorities.

Dr Bochenski said: “Part of the issue is reaching the ‘hidden homeless’.

“There are countless more sofa-surfing than there are sleeping rough - but it takes a real effort to find out about them and their needs.”

The Winter Shelter scheme involves seven churches, of various denominations. Each is open a different night of the week. Logistics company DHL moves all the furniture and equipment from church to church daily free of charge.

Hope 4 opened the Hope Centre in Church Street last year. It provides food, practical support, laundry facilities and showers for its visitors.

Call (01788) 572456 for more information about the Winter Shelters or the Hope Centre.