New shelter would ensure 'dignity' for the homeless in Lincoln
A city centre homeless shelter could be sold and replaced by a new facility if a merger between two charities goes ahead.
The Nomad Trust says finding an alternative to its Monks Road site will be its top priority if plans to partner with Lincolnshire YMCA are approved by the charities' trustees.
The organisations want to combine their resources to help dozens of people sleeping rough in Lincoln.
Purpose-built accommodation could be built on a new site in the city centre, or an existing property could be renovated.
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Hundreds of thousands of pounds would be needed for the project, which could see a new night shelter open within the next two years.
Brenda Shiels, group service manager at The Nomad Trust, said: "I'm hoping the new shelter will be 100 per cent better.
"At the moment we have dormitory accommodation, where three to five people share a room, and that can cause problems.
"But we want to offer single or double rooms with shared facilities.
"It's about offering personal space, dignity and respect.
"The merger is going to enhance our services and help us provide the best possible support.
"It's very exciting. There will be more chance of us accessing funding and we will become more of a force to be reckoned with."
It is hoped the merger will be confirmed by the end of March. The charities say the move would enable them to share back office staff and put more resources behind fundraising and other developments.
Staff would also be able to spend more time supporting service users.
It is hoped the partnership could therefore help people to escape homelessness more quickly, with benefits for the rest of the city.
Ian Sackree, chairman of Lincolnshire YMCA, said: "This merger would add significant capacity to the many clients and users of our services, allow us to operate with greater reach, and improve what we do for the benefit of our wider community.
"This large, sub-regional charity can look forward to a very bright future indeed."
The proposals come as the charities report an increase in demand for their services in the past 12 months.
The YMCA currently runs a hostel, in St Rumbold's Street, and owns shared houses, with a total of 90 bed spaces.
The accommodation offers varying levels of independence, with workers supporting people as they rebuild their lives.
The Nomad Trust has room for 21 people in its night shelter and it owns houses for ex-servicemen and vulnerable people in St Giles.
Mrs Shiels said she hoped the new shelter would have at least the capacity of its Monks Road site.
She said: "There has certainly been a significant increase in demand in the last 12 months and I can't see it getting any better at the moment.
"Anything we can do to help people when they become homeless is good for the city and good for the individuals."
Mrs Shiels says the merger could mean the trust will be able to offer more support in everyday tasks, like cooking and taking care of bills.
The organisation had to cut back on such services and reduce its workforce from around 20 to 17 after it lost funding from Government last year.
The changes also meant the charity was not able to complete a plan to move its operation to a building in Beaumont Fee.
A separate charity Framework then moved in to the premises and opened The Pathway Centre, where it offers emergency accommodation.