SMART Bedford – Rough Sleeper & Homeless Support
Phone: 01234 365955
Address: 32 St John’s Street, Bedford, MK42 0DH
SMART delivers fully integrated, end-to-end services for Bedford’s homeless. Through working with Bedford Borough Council and community partners, rough sleeper numbers have reduced significantly since 2017 and, together, we are working towards the goal to end rough sleeping by 2027.
SMART CJS operates rough sleeper and homeless support in Bedford utilising a number of different locations. Working closely with, and mainly funded by, Bedford Borough Council, SMART provides round the clock support for those who are sleeping rough, homeless or who are vulnerably housed.
From August 2021, this 20-bed facility accepts referrals for individuals and couples verified as rough sleepers through our street outreach team or Bedford Borough Council’s housing options team.
Residents will be eligible to stay for up to two years, however most will stay for 3-6 months before progressing to other more permanent housing options. Whilst at Rogers Court, residents have access to health and mental health care as well as drugs and alcohol support services from community partners to ensure that their recovery and progress is maintained.
Other emergency accommodation is operated by SMART and is available in central locations in Bedford.
Whilst in our care, individuals can attend sessions, groups and clubs to support them with interview skills, filing in forms and making applications. These are the essential building blocks for progression to securing further accommodation, education, training and/or employment opportunities.
The Prebend Day Centre has been on the front line of homelessness relief in Bedford for many years. Providing food, clothing, showers, warmth, safety and support, the centre has offered a life-line to some of Bedford’s most vulnerable individuals.
Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the centre temporarily closed in March 2020. SMART CJS staff and services were relocated to work alongside Bedford Borough Council and our community partners, delivering the emergency response for people experiencing homelessness across Bedford.
The results of a feedback survey asking vulnerable people in Bedford what would be most needed at the centre confirmed the immediate need is to provide a safe place with hot meals so people can rest and connect with others.
The SMART Team in Bedford is working hard to re-open the Centre early in 2022 to provide warmth, support and much-needed nutrition. It will be a phased programme of reopening, starting with providing a hot meal during the lunchtime period.
To keep the service going SMART is reliant on donations and the support of the community and local organisations. Please donate to the Cold Relief In Bedford (CRIB) Appeal to help re-open the Centre.
Funding and donations
Our work is also supported by donations and funding from many different individuals, groups, grant-giving trusts and by volunteers who give up their time to help others.
And we are thankful for individual and community group donations of food, toiletries and clothing to enable residents to make the transition into our service with the essentials that they need.
We are also grateful for starter packs containing crockery, cutlery and other household items when people have options to move-on to sheltered, affordable or other types of more permanent housing.
What to do if you are concerned about someone who is sleeping rough?
Members of the public concerned about anyone rough sleeping can call the national 24-hour rough sleeping referral line ‘StreetLink’ on 0300 500 0914 or visit www.streetlink.org.uk.