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Night shelter on the way for Wolverhampton's homeless

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An emergency night shelter is set to open up in Wolverhampton in a move aimed at tackling the city's homeless problem.

The shelter, which will run for four weeks, will see more than 30 volunteers working 10-hour night shifts.

The scheme, which will start later this month at a date to be confirmed, will be a pilot and it is hoped it will become a permanent fixture next winter.

It will provide a bed for the night for 20 people at The Church @ Broad Street in Westbury Street.

All of those who use the shelter will be referred through advice centre St George's Hub in the city.

The shelter is the brainchild of Matthieu Lambert who was inspired to start the initiative after a woman's body was found in a restaurant doorway in Queen Street last month.

It is believed the woman may have been sleeping rough for a number of nights.

Mr Lambert, who also runs homeless charity Hope Into Action: Black Country, said: "Without that I would be very surprised if we were where we are today.

"It was certainly a catalyst and it gave the whole thing real meaning.

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"There are pathways in place but we want to find those that lead to life. These people are just about surviving but you couldn't say they have a life."

Mr Lambert launched a Facebook page promoting the night shelter the day after the death and, just 36 hours later, it had received nearly 5,000 likes.

"There was a move of public opinion and solidarity that came out of that and we have tried to harness some of that," he said.

A Crowdfunding page has also been set up and the shelter will be paid for by more than £5,000 of donations from the public, £1,200 of which came from St Peter's Collegiate School, Compton, and £500 from the Greggs Foundation.

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Mr Lambert added: "We want to give people physical and emotional respite. The opportunity to be spoken to as human beings.

"If you provide secure, stable accommodation and a network of positive, meaningful relationships then the individual rises up. Relationships are key to that.

"Most of the time people end up in a position of homelessness more through relational poverty; they have either never had a network of support or it has broken up, so when things go wrong they haven't got anybody to turn to."

The move comes as the Express & Star revealed this week that homeless people have set up a camp in the heart of the city centre.

Four tents were pitched at the derelict site at the junction of Cleveland Street and Victoria Street and are surrounded by piles of sleeping bags and litter.

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