Preston’s homeless get lifeline as big freeze comes

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A lifeline has been thrown to homeless men and women risking their lives braving the freezing temperatures in Preston on winter evenings.

READ MORE: The plight of some of Preston’s rough sleepers

The Preston Housing First scheme, launched by the Foxton Centre in Avenham, Preston, in 2016, is to open its eighth property – so the charity now has 19 vital places for people in six houses and a flat.

Three of the 15 people who slept at Foxton as part of the Winter Watch severe weather emergency protocol last week have now been offered accommodation in the new house.

Preston Housing First is aimed at providing accommodation for rough sleepers and sex workers who have multiple and complex needs.

It initially offered shared accommodation in a single three bedroom house but has since grown to meet the needs identified in the city.

For the past 12 months one of the houses has been allocated to women exiting street sex work to provide the stability needed for them to address the many difficulties they are grappling with.

Jeff Marsh, CEO of Foxton, said: “As a charity working with homeless people what better thing can we do than offer people a place to live? It’s the right thing to do and it makes sense!

“For this scheme we prioritise the long term homeless, those with mental health problems or physical disabilities, drug and alcohol problems. They’re the most difficult people to bring back into society and they also rack up the most significant public costs in terms of hospital admissions, police time, jail sentences and emergency accommodation.

“We offer them all a home and immediately afterward we provide intensive help.”