Councils prepare to help homeless come in from the cold


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Barnstaple’s Freedom Centre primed for freezing temperatures

North Devon Council and Torridge District Council are working with Freedom Social Projects to offer emergency accommodation for rough sleepers ahead of freezing temperatures in northern Devon.

The shelter at the Freedom Centre on Eastern Avenue in Barnstaple will be opened 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, said: “Sleeping rough on the streets is tough by anyone’s standards - but when it’s freezing cold outside, it’s even more critical that we help those in need.

“This service provides homeless people with a safe and warm place to sleep, whilst also offering them advice as to how they could move away from homelessness in the future.”

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Project Manager for Freedom Social Projects Phil Noall said: “Over the last 12 months, local partners have been working hard to reduce the number of people sleeping rough in northern Devon. Despite a huge amount of success, sadly we still see new people arriving on the streets on a regular basis and it is fantastic that we are able to provide this winter emergency accommodation again.”

When the emergency service is activated by the severe weather, rough sleepers can access the Freedom Centre between 8pm and 10pm. After 10pm, they need to be referred by the police, hospital or the council’s out of hours team.

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Last year, the shelter was used over a hundred times by a total of 28 rough sleepers over the 28 days it was open.

For information about homelessness and housing options, contact North Devon Council on 01271 388870, or Torridge District Council on 01237 428849.

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