For the first time in Exeter, anyone who is rough sleeping in the city this winter will have to opportunity to come indoors and “safe sleep” for three continuous months, starting on December 1st.
Nicola Forsdyke, Exeter City Council’s Housing Options Manager explains, “We have been discussing how we could extend our normal Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) for rough sleepers with our partner agencies St Petrock’s, BCHA, who run the city hostel, Gabriel House and Julian House, who manage the Street Homeless Outreach Team, for some time and we’re delighted to get this new service called Safe-Sleep underway.
“The way in which the agencies involved have got on board with delivering this service is another excellent example of how well the city’s homeless agencies work in partnership.”
Instead of having to wait for 3 consecutive nights of freezing temperatures for rough sleepers to receive an invitation to come inside, as was the case historically; rough sleepers around the city will receive an offer to come inside and bed down for the night with various agencies around the city from December 1st. The Safe-Sleep service will run continuously until the end of February – hopefully seeing off the worst of the winter weather.
Mel Hartley, manager of St Petrock’s, says, “We’re excited to be part of this extended night-time service for rough sleepers; it’s something we’ve been actively promoting and we’re grateful to ECC and the other statutory services for sourcing the funding to operate Safe Sleep. It will undoubtedly help save lives this winter and will also provide encouragement to a particularly hard to reach group of entrenched rough sleepers to consider future accommodation as a result of the Safe-Sleep experience.