New pods to shelter North Devon’s rough sleepers
Four new temporary accommodation pods have been installed in Barnstaple, thanks to funding secured by North Devon Council and Freedom Community Alliance.
The pods have been installed inside the Freedom Centre in Barnstaple and are now available to use. The pods will provide safe overnight temporary accommodation for four rough sleepers at any one time and are available through referrals to North Devon’s Enhanced Outreach Service. Residents who stay in the pods will receive the support they require from the Enhanced Outreach team to enable them to progress into more settled accommodation.
Funding for the pods was secured by the council from the Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) through their Rough Sleeper Initiative (RSI) funding. Freedom Community Alliance were successful in bidding for additional funding through the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF), which was used to convert the warehouse space at the Freedom Centre and will fund overnight support for a 12 month period.
Lead Member for Housing at North Devon Council, Councillor Nicola Topham says: “We are thrilled to have been granted the funding that enabled us to buy the sleep pods. They will offer a safe haven for some of the most vulnerable members of our community whilst the Outreach team continues to work with each individual to get them the help they need and support them into more settled accommodation.”
Chief Executive of Freedom Community Alliance, Philip Noall says: “The initial idea to put four sleeping pods into the Freedom Centre came from the team in mid 2021. After liaising with architects, planners, building control and the fire authorities, funding was secured to undertake the refurbishments within the building. It’s been a long process getting to this point and I’m absolutely delighted that the project has now gone live.
“Our desire was to create an environment that kept people safe and warm overnight instead of having to rough sleep on the streets. Whilst this accommodation is only temporary and is not a permanent solution to someone’s housing need it is an effective first step to breaking the cycle of rough sleeping. We are delighted to be partnering with North Devon Council on this new initiative.”
The Enhanced Outreach team is made up of staff from the council, Devon Partnership Trust, Together Drug and Alcohol Services, the Freedom Community Alliance charity and Northern Devon Healthcare Trust. The main aim of the service is to support individuals who want to come off the streets into accommodation but the team also provides facilities such as showers and mobile phone charging for those who prefer to stay on the streets or have not yet been found suitable accommodation.
Residents are asked to use the Street Link website to report a rough sleeper they are concerned about.
More information about the work of Freedom Community Alliance is available on their website.
Anyone who believes they are at risk of becoming homeless should get in touch with North Devon Council as soon as possible on 01271 388870 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.