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Night Shelter GEAR closes in Gloucester

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

support:  Gloucester night shelter user Bill Jones, right, with homeless worker Brian Jones. Gloucester night shelter users Peter Brown and Latham Davis.

support: Gloucester night shelter user Bill Jones, right, with homeless worker Brian Jones. Gloucester night shelter users Peter Brown and Latham Davis.

Comments (13)

HOMELESS people had their last sleep at Gloucester's night shelter before being dispersed across the city and Cheltenham this morning.

Because Gloucestershire County Council is changing the way it deals with homeless people overnight, Gloucester Night Shelter in Llanthony Road is closing.

This morning, clients will be bussed to three sites in Cheltenham, understood to be in Prestbury Road, Burton Street and St George's Street, and in Gloucester at Swan Road and Worcester Street.

Some fear moving away from the nearby GEAR's (Gloucestershire Emergency Accommodation Resource's) support in Southgate Street's Vaughan Centre will make their lives harder.

"I cannot believe it's shutting," said Bill Jones, 57, who has lived on the street for 11 years. "If it was not for these people, I don't know what I'd do."

Peter Brown, 27, said: "I will be alright but some people might not be, they are going to find it hard. They need support nearby."

Gloucestershire County Council is splitting funding for emergency beds for the homeless between Cheltenham and Gloucester and will provide two new hostels with 14 beds, and 17 more across the county.

"Our approach is that we want to take people out of homelessness," said P3 spokesman Andrew Regan. "We are not offering a night shelter – it's more than that. It's about working with individuals to get them a place of their own."

Paul McLain, county council Supporting People Partnership Board chairman, said: "The Supporting People Partnership Board believe that the new service will provide homeless people within the county the chance to work towards a stable lifestyle and a home of their own."

Earlier this week, GEAR chief executive Brian Jones said: "The night shelter is closing and for GEAR there are other major roads to be travelled and explored. GEAR Projects exist to relieve sickness, poverty and distress amongst the most vulnerably housed and the homeless and rough-sleeping population of Gloucestershire."

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13 comments

  • supermum99  |  March 02 2013, 5:56PM

    I feel so sorry for these homeless people. Instead of tewkesbury council building a 6 bedroom house for the scrounger with 11 kids, why don't they put that money to good use and build a day/night shelter for these people instead who need it.

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  March 02 2013, 2:43PM

    @geraint2010 You don't know me or my thoughts, yes the homeless need help and support but not just a night shelter and a wet center. They need to be moved into supported accommodation where they are not thrown out onto the streets in the mornings. They need social support to get off the drugs / drink if they are on them, built up their self esteem and moved into permanent accommodation. They can then move back into education or employment and play a useful part in society. The charities that are taking over this provision appear by their mission statements to be doing exactly this and not just acting as a social sticking plaster.

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  • geraint2010  |  March 01 2013, 3:00PM

    So what would your remedy be GlosAnarchy? Move them to somewhere "out of site – out of mind" as is happening, and well away from "My Back Yard", or would you prefer more of a "Final Solution" approach! Too right you're not a Tory – you're coming across as even too right wing for UKIP!

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  March 01 2013, 11:32AM

    Gloscityguy You live in Llanthony Road do you? I don't live outside the night shelter I live a short distance away, all the signage in the windows did was move the problem away from the shelter into the surrounding area where I live! Yes there are problems with people getting dunk in the clubs at night but it's no where near as bad as the homeless street drinkers!

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  • honslknjklyt  |  March 01 2013, 1:11AM

    The place and its people was and is a blight on the city. Being homeless is very often brought on by themselves. I am sick of gloucester being asked for money all the time, there are two in particular who do it, well three, the one with a whiny "mmaaaaaayyyyte, have you got any change", - yes, I have change, what business is it of his!!, the second who pretends he has lost his bus fare, the third who approaches anyone having a quiet five minutes saying "I'm really hungry, can you buy me something to eat" . It is horrible, this is one of the reasons people prefer out of town shopping centres, private complexes, tescos, online shopping. It is certainy one of the reasons I avoid gloucester, I just don't want to be asked for money and hassled. I work hard and I earn my money. Why do I want to give it to an alchie or a junkie? Getting rid of this is a step in the right direction. I support its closure. Being homeless can happen to any of us yes, but it happens more to those who shirk their responsbilities and pee their money up the wall or shove ut up their nose instead of paying their rent.

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  • taylke  |  February 28 2013, 7:02PM

    I've worked in that area for a few years now and there used to be a major problem with users of the night shelter being abusive to passers by during the day. Some time ago notices appeared in the windows of the night shelter warning that anybody loitering around the building would be banned for the next night. That seemed to solve the problem virtually overnight. I have encountered Bill Jones on numerous occasions and never had any problems with or from him. He has always been polite and I hope things work out OK for him.

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  • gloscityguy  |  February 28 2013, 2:44PM

    @GlosAnarchy Never, but then I only live on that exact street, and have been for the past ten years. However I could say the exact same things about some of the people on a night out in Gloucester, who drop cans and fast food litter all over the streets, who scream and shout, and who relieve themselves wherever they feel like. But that doesn't mean every person in town at night does that. Just like it doesn't mean everyone who's homeless is the type of person your describing.

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  February 28 2013, 1:40PM

    gloscityguy When was the last time you saw them defecating in you street in the middle of the day? When was the last time you could hear them shouting and swearing all day long? When was the last time you where asked for money by them and sworn at for not giving in? When was the last time you saw them discarding their drink cans and other rubbish in your street? When was the last time you saw one of them urinating in your neighbor's doorway? I can say in the last 14 days what can you say?

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  • Bones_of_Glos  |  February 28 2013, 1:31PM

    I suspect the closure of the night shelter has more to do with removing the homeless from the corridor linking the city centre with the quays than ensuring a better level of service with a new provider. How long before the Vaughan Centre is encouraged to move to the margins of the city thereby leaving a homeless free zone for the Townscape Heritage Initiative funded revamped lower Southgate Street.

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  • gloscityguy  |  February 28 2013, 1:09PM

    I think it is pretty disgusting that the council decided to stop the funding for this place. No doubt the area it was in played a big part, The developers greased some palms I imagine, and the unsightly poor get moved on. Just they got moved on to the doorways and abandoned buildings of the city, with even less chance of turning their lives around.

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