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Program Information
State Of The City reports
with Ben Ritchie and Paul Hazleden
Weekly Program
Paul Hazleden, Ben Ritchie, Martin Summers, Tony Gosling
 Bristol Broadband Co-operative  Contact Contributor
Oct. 8, 2010, 2:08 p.m.
At least 40 will sleep on Bristol's streets tonight
By Liz Webster - 7th October 2010 - Evening Post
ALMOST 40 people, including at least five women, could be forced to sleep rough on Bristol's streets tonight.
That is the claim made by Alan Goddard, of the Crisis Centre Ministries, who conducted a count of the city's homeless on Monday night.
During a search in heavy rain, around disused buildings and other hideaway spots, he found 21 people on the streets, almost four times more than the official number recorded by Bristol City Council.
And because one of the homeless shelters in the city, the Julian Trust Night Shelter, is closed on Thursday and Sunday nights, another 18 people would be left without a bed for the night at least twice a week.
Mr Goddard said: "Along with one of the Crisis Centre trustees and one of our volunteers, who is making a documentary for the BBC, we set out at 8pm.
"We started at the Julian Trust shelter but by 10pm they were full and had to start turning people away. It's not their fault. They are only allowed to take 18 people and they do a fantastic job.
"We searched all sorts of places like the Bear Pit, behind pubs, in the bus station. We found 21 people but a lot of people who we know are homeless weren't there, so in reality the figure could be much higher. To be fair to the council, they have to follow Government guidance about how to count the homeless but these were all people who had nowhere else to go and were wrapped up in blankets on the street."
The numbers contradict the city council's own homeless counts.
Council spokesman Peter Wood said: "St Mungo's Outreach team conducts a weekly 'hotspot' count on Friday mornings. Because this is regular, it gives a good idea of changing trends, and is used to identify and engage with individual rough sleepers.
"Information is readily available in Bristol because of the hotspot counts, and the links Outreach have with other agencies. They work with Streetwise, third sector organisations, accommodation providers, the Night Shelter etc, as well as responding to information from the community about rough sleepers. Based on the definition of a rough sleeper (i.e. someone 'bedded down' at the time of the count) the average since October 2009 has been around six."
Mr Goddard said there were big concerns for the homeless this winter. They plan to carry out counts every three months.

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