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 Planning Application 16/1376/03 for Safe Sleep facility

Planning Application 16/1376/03 for Former Richards Aquatics, Market Street, Exeter, EX1 1BW – Change of use from A1 to temporary night shelter [sui generis] until end of March 2017.

Planning Statement for the temporary change of use from an A1 retail unit to include use as a temporary Night Shelter.

19 Market Street, Exeter, Devon EX1 1BW

The site lies within Exeter City Council.

Background Information

The unit, currently vacant, previously traded as Richard’s Aquatics and is to be leased to the charity Julian House [through its trading subsidiary Julian House Trading] to operate a Bicycle Workshop social enterprise.

Exeter City Council has agreed that Julian House will operate as the delivery partner for Safe Sleep’ in 2016/17. Safe Sleep will provide emergency accommodation and assistance to all those rough sleepers who may otherwise be excluded from services, including people with no recourse to public funds, people who have previously faced bans and those with no local connection.

Intended Use.

The existing A1 use of 19 Market Street will continue with a social enterprise being developed to operate a Bike Workshop. This will create positive learning and work opportunities Monday to Saturday 9-5pm.

The additional Sui Generis use sought is to be able to deliver temporary hostel accommodation known as Safe Sleep on behalf of the local authority, nightly from 8pm to 8am, from 01 December 2016, running this service continuously for three months. Safe Sleep will incorporate the provision of Severe Weather Emergency Protocol [SWEP] accommodation for the Authority providing additional space during periods of severe weather when people sleeping on the streets of Exeter are most at risk. The timing of this will be affected by episodes of severe weather, with the potential to operate until the end of March 2017.

The aim of Safe Sleep and SWEP is to prevent loss of life and to reduce rough sleeping to as near zero in the city as possible.

The Market Street premises will offer dormitory-style accommodation with camp-beds and bedding. There will be onsite catering, laundry shower/wash and toilet facilities. The accommodation will be accessible to those who may have a disability or mobility issues.

Planning Policy

The proposal will not harm the amenities of nearby residents by virtue of noise, smell, litter or late night activity. The access for Safesleep will be on to the open, wide and accessible from Market Street only, avoiding the George Street to the rear. A safe and secure environment will be provided by professional staff backed up by comprehensive networked cctv.

No television or audio will be audible outside of the unit and occupants will normally be expected to be within the accommodation prior to 11pm. Together these working methods will ensure that the proposal will have a negligible impact on the surrounding areas.

The proposal will not create or increase the potential for public disorder and crime or reduce the perceived attractiveness of the centre through: support by professional staff; a close working relationship with the existing Homeless Outreach team, and a close working relationship with the police. Indeed it is expected that the operation of Safe Sleep will positively contribute to the wider safety of the City Centre.

Location Plan
Floor Plan