20-unit accommodation for homeless to open in Bedford

First tenants will move in next week

A new facility with 20 units of self-contained accommodation for those rough sleeping - or at risk of doing so - is to open in Bedford.

Called Rogers Court, the facility has been refurbished by Kier Construction, and is on the corner of Cauldwell Street and Kingsway with the first tenants due to move in next week.

It was handed over to the council and SMART Bedford, which provides services for those rough sleeping, and in this case, will be providing support to the residents of Rogers Court 24/7.

From left, Lee Phanco (Bedford Borough Council), Ben Salisbury (Kier), Mayor Dave Hodgson (Bedford Borough Council), Shaun Hodgkin (Kier), Anita McCallum (SMART CJS), Stephen Fletcher (Bedford Borough Council) and Jen Robus (SMART CJS) outside the new Rogers Court facility

After a tender process, SMART was awarded a three-year contract to develop and run this innovative service.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “This facility will be an incredible asset to the support we can give to those rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping.

“We have worked proactively with SMART and other partners to find innovative ways to provide support, and help people make long-term improvements in their lives and benefit from this care and support to become independent.”

Cllr Colleen Atkins, portfolio holder for housing, said: “Rogers Court is an important step forward and an example of how seriously the council takes homelessness and the support that we give to rough sleepers in our endeavour to eradicate rough sleeping.”

Anita McCallum, CEO, SMART CJS, added: “We are so delighted that rough sleepers are getting this much-needed investment in the form of excellent, independent units.

"These will be invaluable in getting people back on their feet, often after experiencing trauma and other difficulties in their lives. We have seen that when more comprehensive support is given to those vulnerably housed or sleeping rough, they recover more quickly and can then get back into education, training and employment opportunities.”