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People who are homeless in Wokingham will have a safe, warm bed to sleep in and hot meals thanks to a new night shelter opening in the town in January. The night shelter will be in seven local church halls on a daily rota basis and will be overseen by the Bracknell based homeless charity “Pilgrim Hearts Trust” who have 20 years’ experience of working with the homeless. The Trust has been running the Bracknell Homeless night shelter every winter for the past 5 years.

Churches involved will be Norrys Church, All Saints Parish Church, Kings Church, Corpus Christie catholic church, the Salvation Army, the Methodist Church and Wokingham Baptist Church.

The Salvation Army will be providing laundry facilities and showers. A hairdresser and podiatrist will also be available.

A count of rough sleepers in 2017 revealed that 10 homeless were sleeping on the streets of Wokingham and 7 rough sleepers in 2018. However, Elaine Chalmers-Brown says the actual number of homeless in Wokingham is a lot higher than the official figures. She says “The count of rough sleepers is only done on one night a year so it is not reflection of the true numbers. Also, many homeless are sleeping on sofas of friends: so called “Sofa Surfing”. This is not a real home and its far from what is needed. That’s why Pilgrim Hearts Trust know of many more homeless than the official figures suggest”.

Tony Green of Wokingham churches assoc said “The new night shelter in Wokingham is an opportunity for local churches to work together for the benefit of the whole community.