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Concern Over People Sleeping Rough in West Dorset as Cold Weather Creeps In


12:30pm 25th January 2013

There's an attempt to get people who're sleeping rough during the cold snap off the streets in West Dorset.

Homeless charity Crisis estimates the number of people bedding down on the streets across the county is rising.

Recent adverse weather conditions in the form of snow, hard frosts and some flooding has led to increased concerns over the health of the homeless around Dorchester, Weymouth, Portland and Bridport.

The local authority is obliged to get homeless people off the streets when temperatures drop to below freezing, for 3 nights in a row.

Angie Barnes helps run Soul Food in Weymouth, a soup kitchen who provide hot meals 4 times a week to people living on the streets.

She told Wessex FM the winter claims the lives of a small few who're sleeping rough every year. Angie has been running Soul Food for 7 years and says more people have been coming-in to get a hot meal, or just to get warm and escape the cold.

Outreach workers, who're funded by West Dorset District Council, are on standby to search the towns for men and women who're sleeping rough, should the temperatures drop to zero or below for 3 nights back to back. If they're willing they're taken into local B&B's which the Council pays for and then tries to recover through housing benefit. Others are put up in sheltered accomodation at Pilsdon House, in Bridport.

Angie is concerned not enough is being done though and says Weymouth desperately needs a night shelter. She's calling on Politicians and Central Government to do more to help.

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