A NEW block of temporary accommodation for homeless people in York is now set to open in March - more than 13 months late - according to an update on rough sleeping in the city.

James House is being turned into 57 new self-contained flats as part of a £12.4 million project for City of York Council.

It was due to open in January 2019. But a council report says it will now open on March 3.

It says: “Following this there will be a four-week period where we get staff used to the building, check everything is working as it should be, furnish all rooms and offices, and hold two open house events.

“One event will be for councillors, media, local businesses and residents along with other interested parties. The second will be for staff.

“It is therefore hoped that James House’s 57 units of accommodation will be fully operational at the end of March 2020.”

The update also says there are are currently up to 13 people coming to sleep rough in York on any given night - most of them from outside the city.

The report - prepared for a council meeting on Monday - says: “Our experience is that this is to primarily tap in to the generosity of the night time economy and tourism.

“These individuals present additional challenges for services, as there is no motivation to engage with services.”

There are 29 beds available as part of the city’s emergency accommodation - and the council says there are no conditions attached.

It adds that a member of the council’s team has also helped find flats for 15 people in the private rental market so far this financial year.

A cashless giving point at Spark: York has also raised £1,500 to help rough sleepers since it was launched just three months ago.

This is more than triple the amount made by previous campaigns. In 2017 a fundraising campaign to help the homeless in York raised just £469.

The report adds: “Street culture continues to be a barrier to breaking away from rough sleeping [for] many people involved in this (especially those with addiction issues).

“Begging activity remains prevalent and highly visible in the city centre.

“This makes the rough sleeping situation look worse than it is to many residents and visitors who might not be able to determine the difference between a beggar and a rough sleeper or the complexities of working with the associated issues.”

The council will receive £471,141 funding to tackle homelessness this year.