Shelters close yet homeless help goes on

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A SCHEME to provide shelter for Rugby’s homeless ends this week, having helped dozens of people.

Since November, churches around the town have been staying open to provide a safe place for rough sleepers to spend the night.

The Winter Shelter project finishes on Saturday, but it has been so successful that those in charge hope to run it again next winter.

The Rev Dr Michael Bochenski has been co-ordinating the project.

He said: “It’s been a great success from our point of view - I just wish we didn’t have to do it. We’ve been amazed by the response from churches and volunteers - we’ve had 100 volunteers and more than 40 guests.”

And those using the shelters have come from all sections of society, according to Mr Bochenski.

He said: “We’ve had people who’ve fallen into rent arrears, one couple whose business collapsed and had their house has been repossessed.

“We’ve had people who’ve tipped into alcohol and drug addiction - it’s a microcosm of what’s happening in Britain today.

“When I started here a few years ago, I was told that these were problems in Birmingham and Coventry, but it’s happening here in Rugby.”

A number of those who have used the shelter are now in the process of being housed by Rugby Borough Council and housing associations.

Mr Bochenski added: “The only surprise has been that I expected more tension and aggression - but the people we’ve helped have been very grateful to have somewhere safe to sleep.”

The scheme was overseen by the homeless charity Hope4, with logistics firm DHL moving equipment from church to chuch.

Call (01788) 572456 for more information about Hope4.