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.

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Exeter gets share of £654,000 to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping

Exeter gets share of £654,000 to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping

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Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping in Exeter received a big boost today with news that the city has won part of £654,000 government funding.

Working closely with homelessness providers and partners in the community and voluntary sector, along with East Devon, Mid Devon and Teignbridge District Councils, Exeter will receive a share of the pot to help prevent homelessness through innovative solutions and tackle rough sleeping in the city.

Cllr Emma Morse, Lead Councillor for Customer Access, said the grant was a fantastic early Christmas present for Exeter. “We are committed to ensuring that everyone in Exeter has a roof over their head and that rough sleeping becomes a thing of the past.

“There is much work to be done but this money will help us work with those threatened with homelessness so that we can prevent it happening in the first place.”

The funding is split into two grants:
• Exeter City Council, East Devon District Council (EDDC), Teignbridge District Council (TDC) and Mid Devon District Council (MDDC) has been identified as one of the 28 new ‘trailblazer’ areas across the country and secured £359,000 collectively as part of a £50 million programme aimed at preventing people from becoming homeless.

• Exeter City Council working with EDDC, TDC and MDDC, as well as homelessness providers such as Julian House and St Petrocks, has won £295,000 to help tackle rough sleeping.

The grants will help the local authorities to understand why people are on the streets, their life experience and how best they can be assisted to move away from living on the streets. There will be a strong emphasis on prevention, finding solutions for families and individuals before they end up sleeping rough.

The initiative will focus on reducing unnecessary duplication between services and the introduction of early targeted support for those at risk and experiencing issues such as redundancy, illness or disability.

The new programme will work with a wide range of partners, across councils, the community sector, hospitals and the courts system to prevent households from homelessness through direct support and assistance. The overriding focus will be on the individual being encouraged to take ownership of their own housing need.

Today’s funding comes from the new £50 million programme to provide an innovative approach to tackling homelessness, with prevention at its heart, announced by Prime Minister Theresa May and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid in October.

Further reading: 
My Storify feed on the issue: 21/12/16 | Homelessness Trailblazer Fund

ECC Media Release | Exeter night shelter gets the go-ahead

Exeter night shelter gets the go-ahead

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There’s good news for people sleeping rough on the streets in Exeter this winter, with a night shelter set to open.

The shelter in Market Street, Exeter, is expected to open at the weekend and will be run by Julian House as part of the Safe Sleep initiative.

The green light was given by Exeter City Council’s planning committee, where an application for a change of use for the premises was last night (Monday 5 December) granted unanimously. The building will now be used for rough sleepers to shelter overnight from harsh winter weather, up until the end of February.

John Isserlis, Operations Director at Julian House, said last night’s decision means they can now focus on getting people out of the cold and into safe and warm accommodation when the temperature plummets.

“There was a real concern that if we hadn’t been able to secure the night shelter, someone was going to die on Exeter’s streets this winter. It’s already happened this week in Birmingham where a rough sleeper has frozen to death on the streets.

Cllr Emma Morse, Lead Councillor for Customer Access, said: “We have been looking for a location for some time after another location fell through. If we hadn’t got Market Street, the reality is that there was no alternative waiting in the wings and the night shelter just wouldn’t have happened.”

The City Council is committed to tackling homelessness in the city and works closely with a wide range of partners to reduce the numbers of people sleeping on the streets.

Just recently the Council announced the number of rough sleepers in the city had reduced from 60 to 41.

Cllr Morse added: “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.”

The City Council will be working 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.

The Council and Julian House continue to be committed to working closely with nearby residents and businesses to ensure that concerns are heard and responded to.

Exeter City Council continuing to tackle homelessness in Exeter

Exeter City Council continuing to tackle homelessness in Exeter

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>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.

#SafeSleepExeter helps homeless people through the winter


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15/03/2016

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.”

Julian House | Exeter Assertive Homeless Outreach

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01 October 2015

New contract for Julian House |Exeter Assertive Homeless Outreach

We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded a contract to deliver an outreach service to rough sleepers and people leading street-based lifestyles across Exeter, East Devon and Teignbridge.

Starting today, the fully-funded 30 month contract, awarded by Exeter City Council, has the key aim of supporting rough sleepers off the streets and linking them in with homeless agencies across the area.

In line with national homeless policy, where an individual has no family or historical connection to the area, efforts will be made to reconnect them with their former place of residence.

We will transfer our wealth of experience of working with this very marginalised client group and make a positive impact on moving individuals from, sometimes, very chaotic lifestyles into settled accommodation where support at the right level is accessible.

Our Operations Director, John Isserlis, is excited at the prospect of the new service. “The value of an effective outreach service cannot be understated. As we know, living on the streets is a very dangerous existence. Many of those who are forced to do so are very vulnerable. Some have addiction issues, typically more than 60% will have mental health problems and they are at increased risk of violence. That’s on top of the risk from hypothermia.”

“Every client will be different. Some will be cautious about engaging with outreach staff. But, we know from experience if you get alongside them and understand their individual issues the prospects for getting them off the streets and reconnected with mainstream society are significantly improved.”

Based at the new Exeter CVS Hub and with satellite bases in East Devon and Teignbridge, Julian House outreach staff will work closely with local agencies and service providers, including church based projects, identifying individuals on the streets.

We will also respond promptly to alerts from the public who are encouraged to use the national report a rough sleeper hotline (0300 500 0914).

Alongside providing support, Julian House has a key role to play in building local partnerships to address anti-social behaviour and nuisance that impacts on the whole community and can create a very negative impression of all rough sleepers.

John Isserlis was keen to emphasise the role of the public in assisting this very vulnerable group. “The outreach team will quite quickly build up a good picture of numbers and popular locations where rough sleepers are located but with the best will in the world they cannot cover every park bench or sea front quiet place. This is where the public can provide valuable information – that could literally save a life.”

More from their website

Their aims and objectives are a  vision ‘for a just society where socially excluded people are supported and empowered to build sustainable independent lives’ and our aim ‘to be the lead provider and major influence in the development of lasting solutions to homelessness in the communities where we work’.

Julian House are the lead provider of assertive homeless outreach services in Bath & North East Somerset., where their year strategy focusses on developing new homelessness services within our target geographical areas. The board has invested significant resources from reserves to achieve this.

Julian House have the capacity, experience and expertise to deliver an effective operational, strategic and community response to rough sleeping across Exeter, Teignbridge and East Devon, which will be sustained over the contract term and beyond; building a lasting legacy for the Locality Area.

They are very clear in how they would be addressing roughsleeping in the City and will be more robust in ensuring that they are able to deliver. They will also have a member of staff based at the police station and will be working closely with the police and the community and businesses.

It is hoped that hey will deliver a reduction in the number of roughsleepers in the City, unless of course other factors cause a significant increase in homelessness nationally ( ie universal credit/ welfare reform/ pressure of debt/ breakdown etc)

 

 

 

 

 

Exeter Health & Wellbeing Board | Exeter Wellbeing Hub at Wat Tyler House

Meeting of Exeter Health and Wellbeing Board, Tuesday 02 September 2015 (Item 40)

Exeter Wellbeing Hub at Wat Tyler House

Minutes:
Simon Bowkett, the Chief Executive of Exeter CVS, spoke on the background, philosophy and development of the new Hub.

Exeter CVS had with Devon Doctors (delivering local NHS primary care services to vulnerable groups) and Working Links (delivering Community Rehabilitation under the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme) secured £440,000 from Public Health England’s Recovery Capital Fund to transform Wat Tyler House into the Exeter Engagement Hub. It now also had a 20 year lease from the City Council.

A recovery-focused, co-located and integrated health and well being hub for people with a range of needs and capacities, based around a specialist GP surgery would be created. It would also cover substance misuse, mental health and offender management services integrated with adult learning, volunteering programmes, housing advice, personal finance and debt management, participation and citizenship to create a ”wraparound” offer to clients.

Services included the Clock Tower GP service, the probation service, substance misuse support, SHOT,Eddystone (HIV/STD etc.), Bicton College and Julian House (street homeless). These bodies were represented on a Management Steering Group including representatives of the City and County Councils.

Ivan Jordan, the architect, had designed the building based on (and shaped like) a river reflecting a life’s journey from potentially chaotic beginnings to more placid and settled futures. One end of the building focused on crisis management and, moving through the building, advice and guidance was provided on housing, training, education and skills etc. to help build better futures. The physical layout of the interior promoted connectivity between the agencies with shared meeting spaces to facilitate the exchange of information. There was no reception desk, everyone entering the building being greeted by an individual, usually a volunteer, to ensure the individual is re-assured and helped immediately as well as providing some security for the building and staff. Other examples of assistance included John Lewis which had committed staff to train volunteers in customers care skills.

A core assumption was that support with life events through personal transition was the main catalyst for growing recovery capital and was needed in different forms whether a person was in crisis, in treatment, in recovery, in transition, sustaining health and well being or moving towards training and employment.

Simon referred to connectivity with the local community including the Methodist Church, the St. Sidwells Centre, the Mosque and the St James Neigbourhood Forum. He highlighted the latter’s project in developing a community garden which would dovetail with two similar projects clearing and upgrading waste land and involving clients in this exercise. He confirmed that steps were being taken with the City Council to design out the existing problem area in the alleyway to the side of the St. Sidwells Centre which was currently a meeting point for street drinkers, drug taking etc.

RESOLVED that the report be noted.