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Crowdfunding project launched to help homeless with supported living

PUBLISHED: 09:09 09 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:26 09 October 2017

Nigel Harris, managing director of Freedom Community Alliance.

Nigel Harris, managing director of Freedom Community Alliance.

Archant

A North Devon charity has launched a crowdfunding project to help get vulnerable homeless people off of the streets.

A North Devon charity has launched a crowdfunding project to renovate a house to help vulnerable homeless people off of the streets.

Freedom Community Alliance is hoping to raise £5,000 by October 16 to turn a house it has acquired ‘into a home’.

Managing director Nigel Harris said four vulnerable men, with a history of homelessness, would move into the property and learn how to live independently again.

He said: “Homelessness in Devon rose by 52 per cent last year and the picture in North Devon reflects that too.

“This is not just about the people you see on the streets, it’s about the ‘hidden homeless’ who are sofa surfing or living in their vehicles.

“There is a myth in North Devon that nothing is being done to help the homeless.

“This project is direct evidence that we are doing something, and not just giving them money when they are begging on the streets.”

Nigel said the property, in Barnstaple, had been purchased by the charity Green Pastures, on the understanding Freedom carries out all the renovation work and manages the project.

“We need to buy everything from new to fit in with health and safety,” said Nigel.

“We want to be able to provide decent carpets and nice soft furnishing; it needs to feel like a home and not a hostel.”

The men living in the house would have support workers to re-educate them on the basics of independent living, from food shopping and paying bills to keeping appointments and socialising with others.

“Being homeless can leave you very isolated,” added Nigel.

“The hope is they will stay for a maximum of 12-to-18-months and then they will be ready for a tenancy.”

The project to provide this supported living, run by Freedom’s housing manager Phil Noall, began three-years-ago and now the charity has a total of 10 properties - and 38 rooms - across North Devon.

Freedom works with a housing hub, which includes both North Devon and Torridge district councils, to select those for the supported living schemes.

You can donate to the crowd funding project for the four-bedroom house online before 2.50pm on October 16 at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/make-a-house-a-home.

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