Summer volunteer shortage closes Wolverhampton shelter

Image caption,
The shelter will close for six weeks as volunteer numbers dip during the summer holiday

Homeless people living in a shelter are "returning to the streets" as it is forced to close for the summer.

The Church, on Broad Street in Wolverhampton, needs between 60-70 volunteers, but only has about 30 due to the summer holidays.

Jeremy Watson, who runs the shelter, said the charity could not find places elsewhere for all of their residents.

The city council estimates that there are up to 30 people regularly sleeping rough in the city.

Mr Watson said there is a huge demand for the shelter, which has about 20 beds available.

"A lot of the people we know had to go back on to the streets," he said, describing it as "heart-wrenching".

Three rough sleepers died in Wolverhampton in 2017, according to figures supplied by the city council, and Mr Watson said the charity has helped about 170 people this year alone.

In a bid to encourage more volunteers to give time and raise money, an art exhibition will launch at the shelter on Friday.

Kate Penman, who is organising the exhibition previously volunteered at the shelter. She said: "The closure is very frustrating when you have seen the great outcomes it has had for people, getting them housed or into rehab facilities."

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