Cold weather triggers emergency accommodation for homeless in Barnstaple
By tinap | Monday, December 03, 2012, 14:53
With freezing temperatures in North Devon possible over the next few weeks, preparations are being made for emergency accommodation for rough sleepers at the Freedom Centre, Eastern Avenue, Barnstaple between 8pm and 10pm (when the temperature is zero degrees Celsius or below for three nights or more). After 10pm, they need to be referred by the police, hospital or the council's out of hours team.
North Devon Council and Torridge District Council work with Freedom Social Projects to provide emergency shelter for homeless people. This comes into action when the temperature is expected to drop to zero degrees Celsius or below for three or more consecutive nights.
North Devon Council's Executive Member for Housing, Councillor Faye Webber says: "This is an essential service that makes a huge difference to those people who use it. Not only does it provide them with somewhere safe and warm to sleep on our coldest nights, but it also offers them advice as to where they can go to try to move away from homelessness in the future."
Tom Moore, Torridge's Housing Options Team Leader, says: "Sleeping rough is undoubtedly tough, but when the cold weather sets in, it's even harder for those people who find themselves on the streets. This service really could make a difference, and so I hope those in need are able to make the most of it."
Projects Manager for Freedom Social Projects, Phil Noall, says: "With the support of both district councils, we are currently able to provide this service once again to homeless people during the freezing cold spells. A lot of hard work goes in to running the service, but it's always worthwhile when you see the difference it makes to people who would otherwise be facing a dangerous, cold night out on the streets."
Last year, the service was open for ten days, with 23 people benefiting from it. As well as somewhere to sleep and a warm breakfast, individuals who use the service can have their needs assessed, before being directed to other local agencies who may be able to help them move in to stable accommodation.
For advice about homelessness and housing options:
Phone: 01271 388870