Exeter Night Shelter providing refuge from the cold

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Media release | For immediate release

Exeter Night Shelter providing refuge from the cold

Exeter’s night shelter has been declared a success just weeks after opening its doors to rough sleepers.

In three weeks, more than 300 bed spaces have been filled by the Safe Sleep initiative, with on average 20 rough sleepers a night taking advantage of the facilities.

Homelessness provider Julian House is running the 40-bed facility in Market Street in conjunction with the City Council. The service operates between 8:30pm and 8:00am each night offering safe secure accommodation for people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets of Exeter. The service is staffed overnight, with a minimum of two staff on at all times, and will be open until the start of March.

Cllr Emma Morse, Lead Councillor of Customer Access, said it was extremely heartening to see the night shelter being so well received, especially during the recent cold spell.

“The number of people using the shelter has grown from nine on the first night to 28 at the end of December, as word has spread and rough sleepers have become aware of its existence,” she said.
Just shortly before the shelter opened on 21 December, it was estimated that around 40 people were sleeping rough on Exeter’s streets.

“You can’t persuade everyone to come inside but with a night shelter offering 40 bed spaces, there is no need for anyone to be sleeping out in these conditions,” said Cllr Morse.

“Of course we understand that many of those sleeping rough have complex issues and that is the challenge we share with our partners, to address these issues and find them a more permanent roof over their head.

“Safe Sleep is a great opportunity to help people out during the cold winter months but we realise that it is not the solution. The City Council is committed to reducing homelessness and we are constantly looking at opportunities to bring on line additional accommodation and support.

“We are working with Private Landlords and other providers to lease houses and form a shared house network across the city.”

Any private landlord who would be interested in working with the Council to reduce homelessness in the city should contact 01392 265685.

Exeter City Council | Motion on Wider Devon Sustainability and Transformation Plans

At its meeting held on 13 December 2016, Exeter City Council considered a Notice of Motion by Cllr Chris Musgrave under Standing Order No.6.

Minute 80 of the meeting notes:

Notice of Motion by Councillor Musgrave under Standing Order No.6


Councillor Musgrave , seconded by Councillor Morse, moved a Notice of Motion in the following terms:-

“Exeter City Council notes that the Government requires 44 Footprint Areas across the UK to prepare NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans for their area which will:

i. Contribute to cuts of at least £2.5bn nationally this year, and £22bn within the next five years, to wipe out the NHS so-called financial deficit; and

ii. achievethis by implementing ‘new models of care’ that are set out in NHS England’s 5-Year Forward View (2014).

NHS bodies are severely limited in how they can oppose these cuts because they risk losing access to the £8bn NHS Transformation Fund.

However, local authorities are in an excellent position to make clear their complete opposition to the programme. 

Exeter City Council therefore calls on Devon County Council to join together with other Councils and campaign groups to widely publicise the details of all proposed cuts and changes to local NHS services.

We further call on Devon County Council to refuse to sign up to any STP, until the local proposals have been subject to a full and proper consultation.”

In presenting the Notice of Motion, Cllr Musgrave highlighted that he was proud that his party had created the NHS over 60 years ago and that the NHS was vital providing free health for the residents of this country. He hoped that he would get cross party support to resist the Sustainability and Transformation Plans. The NHS was no longer financially sustainable and the closure and relocation of some services in Exeter were affecting local residents and causing stress on local services. The City Council in supporting this motion would therefore assist the County Council in resisting the plan.

A Member [Cllr Andrew Leadbetter] stated that the County Council had passed a motion opposing these Government proposals and this motion would help the County Council in challenging theSustainability and Transformation Plan.

Another Member [Cllr Kevin Mitchell] stated that the provision of social and health care should be combined and all political parties should work together to find a solution to ensure the long term sustainability of the NHS.

All Members fully supported this motion.

The Notice of Motion was put to the vote and carried unanimously.

Exeter City Council continuing to tackle homelessness in Exeter

Exeter City Council continuing to tackle homelessness in Exeter


>Exeter City Council today reaffirmed its commitment to tackling homelessness in the city.

The Council has been working closely with a wide range of partners to reduce the numbers of people sleeping on the streets.

Cllr Emma Morse, Lead Councillor for Customer Access, said: “At one point a few months ago, we estimated that there were around 60 people sleeping on the streets but we have been working with our Outreach Team from Julian House and other partners, and the annual return now confirms this figure has been reduced to 41.

“Just in the last quarter, we have had good outcomes reconnecting 12 people back into homes in other areas. This is a positive sign that by working together, we can begin to make a difference.”

Cllr Morse said that whilst the ultimate aim was to end rough sleeping in the city, this was a challenging national issue, with cities such as Bristol and Oxford seeing an increase in numbers over recent years.

In 2014, the official number sleeping on the streets in Bristol was 41, but in 2015 this was up to 97, an increase of 137%.

Oxford has also seen a rise in the number of homeless people sleeping rough on city streets in the last year. During an annual count in 2015, 39 people were found sleeping on the streets of Oxford, up by 50% from 26 in 2014.

“We can’t be complacent,” said Cllr Morse, “We must continue to reach out to those without a home or who find it difficult to maintain their accommodation.”

With weather conditions getting colder, the City Council is looking to open a new night shelter in the city in preparation for the winter months. A potential building has been identified in Market Street after a long search supported by the Express & Echo. However Planning permission is needed for change of use as it is currently a retail premises. This decision will be considered by the Council’s Planning Committee for a change of use.

If given the go-ahead, the City Council will work closely with Devon County Council, East Devon District Council, NHS, Devon and Cornwall Police and local providers BCHA, Julian House and St Petrock’s to offer a safe place to sleep for those with no other options available. A number of spaces to accommodate rough sleepers will be available from mid-December through to 28 February, including specific provision for women.

Safe Sleep is a proactive approach, building on a requirement by government under Severe Weather Provision, where additional spaces are only offered whenever the temperature drops below zero for three or more nights. With the possibility of snow and freezing weather there are serious concerns for rough sleepers as there is a real risk to their health.

Once again, the winter gives providers the opportunity to work together in a more co-ordinated way with this hard-to-reach group. Julian House (Street Outreach Contract) are central to the success of the scheme and are undertaking to work with other providers to help ensure easy flow into the accommodation and support to manage those moving through into longer-term options.

Safe Sleep places will be in addition to services already provided at BCHA’s Gabriel House hostel and the St Petrock’s Resource Centre in the city, with support of the Assertive Homeless Outreach Team from Julian House. The Safe-Sleep project will provide bed spaces alongside use of the City Council’s temporary accommodation stock, where appropriate.

The project includes support alongside a place to sleep with the intention of being able to offer as many ongoing accommodation placements as possible by the end of February.

ECC Media Release | Drop-in event gives people chance to have their say on homelessness

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16 March 2016

Drop-in event gives people chance to have their say on homelessness


People in Exeter can find out what is being done in the city to assist those who are homeless at a drop-in event next week.

The City Council – working in partnership with Teignbridge District Council – has drawn up a Homelessness Strategy for Exeter and Teignbridge.

As part of the Strategy the public are being asked for their views on a raft of initiatives put forward to prevent homelessness.

Cllr Emma Morse, Lead Councillor for Customer Access, said: “This is a great opportunity for people to drop in and see what we have been doing to address homelessness in the city and what plans we have for the future to address this important and complex issue.”

The event takes place at Exeter Guildhall in the High Street, on Thursday 24 March between 10am and 2pm. Everyone is welcome to attend and a number of partners such as St Petrocks and Julian House will be there to explain their role in the city.

Cllr Morse added: “As part of the Strategy we are committed to bring rough sleeping to an end. We are determined to help those without a roof over their head to turn their lives around.”

Much of the focus of the strategy is the importance of working together with wider statutory and voluntary organisations to address homelessness. Among the initiatives within the strategy are the following:

• Launch a referral service for private landlords to help save private rented tenancies when things start to go wrong

• Develop alternatives to bed & breakfast in an emergency for families and young people

• Consider the design of accommodation options for rough sleepers to provide options for those unable to access current provision

• Review the impact of ‘Safe Sleep’ winter provision and determine whether a night shelter model is a viable option in the local area to provide emergency accommodation

• Improve awareness and quality of leaflets and guides about homelessness and how to get help

• Pilot a ‘Housing First’ model of accommodation for entrenched rough sleepers to provide options for those who find it difficult to access and maintain existing services

• Trial a flexible advice service outside of the council offices where clients find it easier to engage

The public consultation ends on 28 March and people can either attend the Guildhall event and leave their feedback or visit the strategy on the City Council’s website at to have their say.

– Ends – 

#SafeSleepExeter helps homeless people through the winter

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Safe Sleep Exeter helps homeless people through the winter

Homeless people sleeping rough in Exeter and East Devon have been given a helping hand into accommodation this winter through the Safe Sleep Exeter 2016 scheme.

The Safe Sleep Exeter project saw an additional 26 bed spaces opened in the city between 1 December and 29 February to provide shelter from the cold and severe weather.

In total, 1,235 bed spaces were provided during the scheme, assisting 82 homeless people to be accommodated, with 45 moving on to more settled accommodation at the end.

The scheme was made possible by a partnership approach by Exeter City Council, St Petrocks, BCHA, and Julian House. Funding was also contributed by East Devon Council, Devon County Council, and Devon and Cornwall Police.

As a result of the positive outcomes from Safe Sleep, Exeter City Council is funding eight bed spaces with BCHA in newly furnished dormitory style rooms to continue the provision of fast access shelter for homeless people as a stepping stone to accommodation.

Emma Morse, Exeter City Council’s Lead Councillor for Customer Access, said: “This is a fantastic example of what can be achieved to help homeless people when we work together. We are very lucky to have services dedicated to helping the homeless in the city and look forward to further projects to help as stated in our draft homelessness strategy.”

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Mel Hartley, Project Manager from St Petrocks, said:
“We were delighted when Exeter City Council announced it would fund a Safe Sleep service for three months from December 1. We were very fortunate to have the commitment from our staff and volunteers who never missed any of the 91 nights.”

“From the start, all agencies recognised that this service could only be effective if offers of accommodation were made and we’re really encouraged that agencies, including our own Private Rented Service and Exeter City Council were able to deliver on this. This service not only saves lives but importantly is now proven to provide a vital route for rough sleepers into accommodation.”

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David Twomey, Project Leader at Gabriel House, BCHA, said:

“We are very grateful to the residents and staff of Gabriel House, without whom we would not have been able to provide this vital assistance over the winter period . Their help and goodwill throughout the three months allowed the communal areas of the hostel to be used to provide shelter for the most vulnerable and supported people to move on into more permanent accommodation.”

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Brett Sentence, Service Manager, Assertive Homeless Outreach Team, said: “This has provided a wonderful platform for working in Partnership to help rough sleepers towards accommodation and a more settled future.”