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  1. ITV Report

Homeless numbers remain high in Taunton over Christmas

Residents pay to stay in the hostel. Either getting their money from jobs or from benefits. Photo: ITV Westcountry

As we sit down to our Christmas dinner today spare a thought for eighteen people known to be sleeping rough in and around Taunton. That figure comes from the Taunton Association for the Homeless. It is looking after 129 people every night at it's nine hostels in the town but says there is always great demand for beds.

Residents pay to stay in the hostel. Either getting their money from jobs or from benefits. Further grants are paid by government through Somerset County Council whilst businesses and volunteers also raise money.

The aim is to save people from the wet and cold, drug and alcohol addiction and depression and return them to society, work and a happier life.

These needles were used for injecting heroin and were left stuck in a tree just ten minutes walk from the centre of Taunton. Credit: ITV Westcountry

These needles were used for injecting heroin and were left stuck in a tree just ten minutes walk from the centre of Taunton. Many addicts refuse to come into overnight hostels because they aren't allowed to bring drugs in. Some brave rain and freezing weather because the grip of their addiction is so strong.

Taunton Association for the Homeless has a team that visits people known to be sleeping rough to try to help them, give them accommodation and get them on to drug rehabilitation programmes.