A night shelter run by churches to accommodate people sleeping rough in Wrexham has opened this week.
More than 170 volunteers from church and community groups in the town are offering safe beds, a hot meal and a warm welcome to up to ten people every night for the next ten weeks, the coldest time of year.
The project, set up by Housing Justice Cymru and supported by the Diocese of St Asaph, is being run in partnership with Wrexham Borough Council and other agencies working with those who are homeless in the town.
Wrexham has the second highest number of people sleeping rough in Wales, and the highest per head of the population.
Stephen Convill from Housing Justice Cymru said: “Seven different churches across Wrexham have offered their church or hall as a venue for the night shelter. Teams of trained volunteers are welcoming the guests every night, providing hospitality and continuity.
“For ten weeks our guests will be able to access a bed for the night, meaning they don’t have to wake up each morning wondering where they will sleep that night. We hope this sort of stability means they have a chance to focus on other issues and engage with agencies to help them out of homelessness.”
Housing Justice Cymru is working with Housing Officers from Wrexham Council to support those coming to the night shelter. Its Leader, Cllr Mark Pritchard, said: “Cllr Mark Pritchard, Leader of Wrexham Council, said: “I’d like to thank Housing Justice Cymru for their dedicated efforts as they’ve worked alongside ourselves and fellow partners, including those churches involved, in order to realise this new element of provision. I’d also like to thank our team and our staff for their hard work as well.
“This is an innovative approach to a difficult and emotive problem, and it’s only through working with partners that we can provide these new approaches and, hopefully, give vulnerable people the support they need.”
A donation from Wales & West Housing, via its Making A Difference fund, has helped to buy 12 camp beds and bedding for the project.
Anne Hinchey, Chief Executive of Wales & West Housing, said: “Everyone has a right to live in a safe, warm home and we’re extremely proud of our role in tackling homelessness through the high quality, affordable and energy efficient homes which we provide – but we recognise that we can’t solve the problem alone.
“Our own culture is centred around doing the right thing and it’s absolutely vital that we support organisations such as Housing Justice Cymru to tackle the shared vision of reducing homelessness.
“We hope that this small contribution will make a big difference to the lives of those who use the night shelter.”
Housing Justice Cymru is a Christian charity which works with churches to tackle homelessness and housing need. It helps churches and community groups set up and run Night Shelters and supports local churches to develop housing and homelessness projects.
The Diocese of St Asaph is part of the Church in Wales, an independent Province within the worldwide Anglican Communion of Churches. The diocese is a community of 216 churches covering Wrexham, as well as the counties of Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and parts of Gwynedd and Powys.