Call for council to increase help given to rough sleepers

Peterborough City Council news from the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday

Peterborough City Council news from the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday

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Greater resource to help rough sleepers has been requested by a Peterborough City Council scrutiny committee.

Fourteen recommendations have been sent onto the council’s cabinet to consider after they were included in a new report by councillors on a working group.

One of the recommendations is to bring in a new outreach worker who can go out and speak to rough sleepers over the weekend.

Others include identifying night shelter accommodation for rough sleepers who do not want there dogs to be placed into a kennel, and increasing the proportion of affordable homes to be built in Peterborough from 30 per cent to 35 per cent.

Of that 35 per cent, at least 70 per cent would be affordable rental accommodation.

A further recommendation is for more beds for rough sleepers with complex needs who cannot be accommodated in regular hostels.

Sarah Hebblethwaite, housing needs deputy manager, said the council’s aim is to “empower rough sleepers to leave the streets.”

Sean Evans, housing needs manager, said: “We do have a group of entrenched rough sleepers who do not take up the option [of accommodation].

“It’s only at a time of severe weather do they look to leave the streets.”

The working group was commended by councillors for preparing its report so quickly having only been set up on January 17.

At the time, the council had come under significant scrutiny after it paid an external security firm more than £8,000 for two guards to patrol St Peter’s Arcade for 19 nights over Christmas and the new year.

The arcade - an important walkway linking Bridge Street to the back of the Town Hall - was seeing an increasing number of rough sleepers.