Safe Sleep service helping North Devon’s homeless this winter

Posted on: 15 January 2019

Three months into a winter shelter project for the homeless, North Devon Council and Freedom Community Alliance are reminding the district’s rough sleepers to take advantage of the service during this cold weather.

The project, dubbed Safe Sleep, opened its doors on 1 October last year, with the aim of providing a warm and safe place for up to 20 rough sleepers. The shelter provides a light meal, bed down and breakfast each morning up until 31 March this year, ensuring that homeless people in North Devon are able to choose to sleep in a secure, warm and dry place during the cold winter months.

Along with providing a free and safe place for homeless people to sleep, the project enables individuals to establish and maintain relationships with welfare professionals from a range of government and voluntary organisations. This support, provided from the Safe Sleep venue at the Freedom Centre in Newport, Barnstaple, enables homeless individuals to overcome common obstacles to finding accommodation – such as lack of I.D. or a rental deposit – and creates an environment in which people are able to help themselves by accessing the necessary assistance to reintegrate with the community and find homes. 

The Freedom Centre welcomed 65 different people during October, November and December 2018, an average of more than 10 people a day. As a result of the project, 17 people who used Safe Sleep have now been housed into long term accommodation.

Councillor Brian Moores, Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, says: “We are so pleased that Safe Sleep has been able to help so many of our district’s rough sleepers, giving them somewhere secure and comfortable to sleep at night and offering the help they need to find a more permanent solution to getting them off the streets. There are unfortunately some rough sleepers who choose not to take up the service for their own reasons. We would like to remind those people that the shelter’s doors are open to them during this cold weather.”

Philip Noall, Housing and Homelessness Manager from Freedom Community Alliance, says: We are delighted to be partnering with North Devon Council to deliver Safe Sleep which is firmly integrated into North Devon Councils enhanced Rough Sleeper service this winter. The team have provided 898 nights of accommodation to the end of December and it’s fantastic that many of those who used this service in October and November are now in their own accommodation. This project is a great demonstration of what can be achieved when we work together.

Freedom work with a range of vulnerable groups including homeless people, those suffering from addiction issues, people with poor physical and mental health, debt and poverty and those who simply want to improve their health or improve their life skills. More information is available on their website freedomcommunityalliance.org.uk.

If you believe you are at risk of becoming homeless, get in touch with North Devon Council as soon as you can on 01271 388870 or email customerservices@northdevon.gov.uk.

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