Bid to open Exeter homeless shelter all-year-round

Plans to help homeless people in Exeter – by allowing the city’s night shelter to open all-year-round and extending its remit – have been revealed. 

The Junction, in Magdalen Street, currently only operates from October to April.

Exeter City Council has submitted proposals for it to offer rough sleepers refuge for the entire year.

Its application also seeks permission for the facility to offer daytime activities, where feasible, from April to the end of September.

The mixed-gender facility  – offering a cry, warm and safe place to sleep – opened two years ago.

In 2018/19 a total of 188 people used the  shelter – with 50 moving on to more suitable accommodation,

From October to the start of February, 100 people have accessed the hub.

Exeter City Council says that, throughout last year, its outreach service worked with 165 identified rough sleepers on the streets of Exeter and a further 109 whose identity was unknown or chose not to engage.

Councillor Emma Morse, lead for supporting people, said: “No-one should have to rough sleep and the night shelter is a vital resource to the city in its response to ending homelessness.

“This as an opportunity to engage with homeless people and help them move on to more stable accommodation.

“We will be employing a dedicated team to assist and support rough sleepers.

“The service will work closely with our Housing Needs Service and we will ensure that people using the shelter are properly supported through the pathway, reducing their stay in the night shelter and on into more suitable, stable and affordable accommodation.”

The shelter will be staffed by a minimum of two workers during opening hours who would be responsible for booking in and allocating bed spaces for clients.

They will also be tasked with ensuring the safety of service users throughout the night, as well as monitoring their behaviour.

Dormitory-style sleeping accommodation on the first floor would feature either two or three sets of bunk beds per room, providing a total of 18 bed spaces.

A further eight beds would be located on the shelter’s ground floor.

From April to October, capacity would be reduced to 14 beds as the council says some people choose to sleep rough sleep during periods of warmer weather.

In the event of the authority’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol being declared, there would be additional capacity available at the shelter

The council will determine the fate of its own application at a later date.

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