Nearly 30 people sleeping rough in Peterborough as numbers slightly dip

A rough sleeper in Peterborough
A rough sleeper in Peterborough
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Nearly 30 people are sleeping rough in Peterborough according to official estimates.

Every year local authorities do their best to work out the number of rough sleepers in their area through a street count in late October/early November and an “evidence-based estimate”.

And according to figures released by the Government today there were 29 rough sleepers in Peterborough in 2018, down slightly from 31 in 2017.

This compares to 21 in 2016, 15 in 2015 and 17 in 2014.

Of the 29 people said to be sleeping rough when the figures were compiled, 20 were male and seven were female, with the gender not known for two people.

Sixteen were UK nationals, six were from the EU (outside of the UK), one was a non-EU national and six people’s nationalities were unknown.

Of the 17 people whose age was known, all were aged 26 or above.

Cllr Irene Walsh, cabinet member for communities at Peterborough City Council, said: “The annual rough sleeper count was completed in November, just a few weeks before the launch of the city’s successful Safer Off the Streets partnership.

“By working together with charities and organisations through the Safer Off the Streets partnership we are beginning to make a real difference to lives of those who sleep on our streets.

“It is important to remember that this is just a snapshot of a single night in the year. However, the council completes its own count every two months, and our figures also indicate the number of rough sleepers are decreasing - which is encouraging news.”

Christine Graham, chair of the Safer Off the Streets partnership, said: “Already, the Safer Off the Streets partnership organised a range of services for rough sleepers including raising over £5,000 to help fund the Garden House Day Centre.

“On average, we estimate we are helping eight rough sleepers a month to get the skills, advice and accommodation they need to get off the streets for good.”

Donations to the partnership are being made by a contactless card reader by the Argo Lounge in St Peter’s Arcade, the cash donations boxes at Town Hall or the Visitor’s Centre in Bridge Street, or online at www.saferoffthestreets.co.uk.

The Severe Weather Emergency Provision is currently in place at Fairview Court, Oundle Road. Rough sleepers who need a warm bed for the night should attend before 10pm.

Nationally there were 4,677 people sleeping rough in England last autumn - a fall of 74 on 2017.

However, numbers are still up 2,909 since the start of the decade.

Local Government Association housing spokesman Cllr Martin Tett said: “Councils are determined to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping from happening in the first place and support families affected.

“This is becoming increasingly difficult with homelessness services facing a funding gap of more than £100 million in 2019/20.

“Proper resourcing of local government funding is essential if we are going to end homelessness. Councils need to keep 100 per cent of the receipts of any homes they sell to replace and reinvest in building more of the genuinely affordable homes they desperately need, as well as the ability to adapt welfare reforms to prevent people from losing their home where possible.”