E&E | Exeter aims to bring more rough sleepers in from the cold

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21 November 2015

Exeter aims to bring more rough sleepers in from the cold

New steps are being taken to help bring Exeter’s rough sleepers in from the cold.

Exeter City Council is gearing up to the winter with an action plan to which will see 26 spaces to accommodate rough sleepers from December 1 to February 28 – , including specific provision for women.

The City Council is working in partnership with a number of groups including the police and St Petrock’s to offer a safe place to sleep for those with no other options available.

Since 2010 there has been a yearly increase in the numbers of people rough sleeping in England. In Exeter last year there was an increase of 48per cent.

City Council Leader, Pete Edwards, said: “‘We are committed to reversing this trend by tackling the causes of homelessness and rough sleeping, although it will be an ongoing challenge.

“We recognise that many people who are homeless have complex issues. We are trying to work creatively with partner agencies to offer a safe place to sleep and the right support to get people through the winter.”

Agencies will work together with the homeless, focussing on longer term plans, and in a specific place rather than trying to meet up on the street.

It is hoped that this will help those who may have refused to ‘come inside’ and help manage anti-social behaviour within the city. Clients with no local connection will be offered reconnection services so that the provision is linked to local demand.

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.

St Petrocks | Night Shelter Proposal

I’ve just seen this on the current newsletter published by Exeter Soup Kitchen Network [co-ordinated by Exeter Community Initiatives – ECI]

In response to increasing levels of homelessness in the city, St Petrock’s and partners from the Soup Kitchen Network are putting together plans to run a night shelter throughout the winter months. As part of Exeter City Council’s existing Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP), St Petrock’s Centre, Gabriel House and other local charities currently open up overnight to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers when the tempera-ture falls to zero degrees or below.

The proposed night shelter would extend this service to provide continuous bed spaces for risk-assessed rough sleepers for three months of the year. Experience has shown that cold weather accommodation can not only help save lives, but prove a vital first step in encouraging entrenched rough sleepers to make the move ‘indoors’.

Under the proposal, the night shelter would be run as a collaborative venture by trained volunteers, with a central coordinator employed on a part-time basis to oversee the work. Development of the project is subject to the availability of funding and an additional overnight venue or venues to operate alongside St Petrock’s Centre.

For further information, please contact Mel Hartley at St Petrock’s on: 01392 422396 

To me this seems a much better response than SWEP to the crisis faced by the street homeless during the winter months – and  a better management of resources and personnel. I hope the various partner organisations can pull it off.