Homeless service under threat of closure

Six homeless people have said they, and many others, will have nowhere to go if a homeless shelter is closed down at the end of this month.

Hull Homeless and Rootless Project (Hull HARP) is due to close at the end of this month due to a lack of funding but service users want it open because it’s their only means of getting a bed for the night.

Gary Haagensen said; “I came out of prison on 3rd February after doing three months, I had two nights on the streets and the only reason I’m not on the streets now is because of this place, there’s nowhere else I can go!”

Chris Sever was in prison for four and a half months and was released on 19th December; “I had nowhere else to go so I came here,”

Hubert Lawanson was released from prison on 27th January and came to the night hostel for the first time tonight and also said there was nowhere else he could go.

The homeless problem, however, reaches much further than just people who have just come out of prison.

David Wilkinson became homeless on 19th November because his benefits were put under sanction and he found himself unable to pay his rent and bills, he said; “I haven’t got anywhere else I can go, I’m not well so they put me up in the sick room here;”

John Daddy lost his council flat in 2013, he was sofa surfing for a while and then just sleeping rough and has been going to stay at Dock House since it reopened in the run up to Christmas but again he says there’ll be nowhere for him to go if it closes down again.

Malcolm Geoffrey Stork said he’s been let down by his probation officer who was apparently more interested in “Having a cup of coffee;” than helping him with a housing application.”

Mr Daddy also said; “They need to set up a bonding process again so people can get help with paying a bond to secure accommodation.

Mr Sever said it “Winds me up more than anything else;” when he sees an empty council property.

A member of Dock House staff said he couldn’t speak about the projects current situation but someone would be able to speak to the manager the next morning.

Mr Wilkinson also said that it offers help such as getting regulars into hostels, an outreach service which sees staff going out to give hot drinks to people who are out on the streets at night and a breakfast club for people who have been on the streets overnight.

While I was there talking to them a man arrived in a white van and handed out 5 meals from a fish and chip shop, including sausage and chips, pattie and chips and fish and chips.

As a previously homeless person myself I know how much these people are suffering, almost feeling crushed by life itself, something needs to be done to save this service and very quickly.

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