Somerset

Yeovil Night Shelter's dormitory closure

The manager of a Somerset homeless night shelter said it has closed its dormitory because of government policy.

Yeovil Night Shelter ran a 10-bed dormitory as well as a house, housing support and advice service.

The government's new policy on homelessness favours single room occupancy as opposed to dormitories.

But shelter manager Chris Gibbons said there was a danger in putting "somebody who is in total chaos from an addiction behind a door" instead of a dormitory.

Instead people will be re-directed to a nearby hostel or private housing.

'Positive way'

During an assessment for extra funding, Mr Gibbons said he was told dormitory-style accommodation was "no longer endorsed" by the government and no grants were available for it, although money was offered to support its other work.

As a result the service was stopped.

The changes were made under the No-one Left Out homelessness strategy by the Department for Communities and Local Government which promotes finding longer-term solutions to end homelessness.

The centre manager said the dormitory was a "small part" of its service.

"We need to have an opportunity to try this new model of one person, one door [to one bedroom], and keep the door half-open and if it is clearly not working, then we need to move forward in a positive way," said Mr Gibbons.

Other work such as a running a house for alcohol and drug rehabilitation and providing meals, laundry facilities, and advice will continue to be run by the Yeovil Night Shelter charity.

Barnabas hostel in Yeovil is looking to expand the number of beds it has and the Yeovil Night Shelter is working with other agencies to make sure the winter provision is adequate, although nothing has yet been confirmed.

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