'Homelessness won't go away' warns charity leader behind city hostel plans
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More than 100 people have objected to the plans to transform the former Fanny and Bacardi nightclub on Bank Street into a 17-bed unit. Click here to read more.
But now a growing number are adding their support.
Terry Smith, who set up Helping the Homeless (Wakefield) in order to open the hostel, said: “The homeless will always gravitate to the city.
“These people are vulnerable and deserve support.
“The problem will not disappear on its own - this is a positive step in reducing the disruption that some feel the homeless are currently causing.”
Much has also been made of a children’s nursery being in close proximity to the site, but he says the nearby Bank Street Hotel has been accommodating the homeless during the pandemic.
The Community Awareness Programme (CAP) on nearby Market Street, which also helps the homeless, has remained open.
Mr Smith said: “We understand the concerns of parents who feel that the location is wrong.
“The hostel would be accommodating less people than the council have been accommodating in the hotels which are in the same area.
“Also the homeless charity CAP is opposite the nursery and has on average 70 disadvantaged people pass through its doors daily.
“We do not envisage the hostel would increase the number of Wakefield people seeking sanctuary in the immediate vicinity and in fact should reduce numbers over time.”
Mr Smith says homelessness could spiral in the coming weeks as the government withdraws its ‘Everyone In’ campaign - to find hotels for the homeless during the pandemic.
In addition, the government’s eviction ban was lifted this week, meaning people could soon find themselves on the street.
Mr Smith says a hostel would be ideal for those who find themselves destitute and with no accommodation immediately available.
He says it is the hostel’s intention to work with other charities, including CAP and Wakefield Street Kitchen and the Baptist Church - which provides a temporary shelter during the winter.