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  1. ITV Report

Exeter's night shelter open for winter

The shelter is on the site of the old Spice Island Indian Restaurant. Credit: ITV News West Country

A night shelter has opened in Exeter to give vulnerable people a place to stay during the coldest months of the year.

The Junction, which used to be The Spice Island Indian Restaurant, can give 26 people a warm safe place to stay every night until the end of March 2020.

As temperatures continue to drop close to freezing the shelter is a lifeline for many who those who normally sleep on the street.

This woman said last year she stayed at The Junction after a drunk man assaulted her while she slept.

I was sleeping outside and it was winter and I must have had my hand out of my sleeping bag and somebody bit my finger and I had to go straight to hospital.

– Female rough sleeper
The shelter can host 26 people a night in camp beds and bunk beds. Credit: ITV News West Country

The average life expectancy of a homeless man is 44 and 42 for a woman, compared to 76 for the typical man and 81 for a woman.

The council funded shelter hopes to use the shelter as a way to have conversations with people sleeping on the streets and get them on a path to their own home.

It's about getting hold of people and trying to get some kind of way for them to move forward. If we open this facility open all year round there's a genuine concern that people's lives won't change and we won't fix them problem.

– Cllr Emma Morse, Exeter City Council Lead for Supporting People

Government records show three people who slept on the streets of Exeter died last year.

Perhaps even more shocking are the most recent ONS statistics which show the number of people dying on the streets of Exeter is nearly double that of the national average.

With 20.8 deaths per million people compared to 13 deaths per million across England and Wales.

Outreach workers hope people sleeping rough will use the opportunity to get long term help off the street. Credit: ITV News West Country

When the night shelter opened last year it helped 193 rough sleepers.

With 72 of them moved into private or supported accommodation and a further 19 given accommodation back to their local area.

Exeter church groups deliver hot food seven nights a week and outreach workers from Julian House and BCHA hope to use the time people spend at the shelter to help find them safe and stable places to live.