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Church grounds approved for homeless pods

by Ruth Sax

People on the streets will now have a safe space for the night on the grounds of a church in Caerphilly.

Council approval has been given for two homeless pods in St Helen's Roman Catholic Church.

The emergency accommodation provides a safe place for people on the streets. The pods will have a bed, toilet, light, key-coded door and be powered by solar panels.

Christian charity Amazing Grace Spaces works with those using the pods to help them off the streets for good.

They will now be place in the grounds of the church after plans were approved by Caerphilly council.

Cliff Bray, a member of St Helen's and co-ordinator of the night shelter told Premier the pods would provide a "safe space" to help the homeless.

"During the day they can be looked after as well as at night. We are part of a community where we all work together to help others in difficulty. As Christians, it is part of our ethos to look after the homeless and the poor," he added.

Bray said they are hoping to have the pods in place within two weeks and explained the benefits of the pods: "They provide emergency shelter if necessary and they are also a stepping stone for rough sleepers to enable them to readjust before they go into accommodation.

"It is very hard to bring rough sleepers straight off the streets and into permanent accommodation." 

National statistics show that the number of rough sleepers has increased 165 per cent in England since 2010 to 4,677. It has more than doubled in Wales since 2008 to 347, according to the latest figures, and the number of those in Scotland who slept rough before asking local authorities for help has recently increased to 2,876.

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