Former Peterborough rough sleepers to move into new flats thanks to government grant

Former rough sleepers will be given the key to their own front door next week at the brand-new Lincoln House, thanks to a Government grant.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 4:05 pm
Clle Steve Allen outside the flats
Clle Steve Allen outside the flats

A total of 22 former rough sleepers will move into flats in the newly refurbished 1970s office building at 88 Lincoln Road. The flats are designed as long-term ‘next steps accommodation’ for those who have remained committed to staying off the streets after spending time in hostels or rest centres in the city.

Part of the money used to purchase the building came from a £625,000 grant from Government as part of its Next Steps Accommodation Programme. Money has also been provided for two council officers who will help residents ease into the practicalities of running a home for the first time in months or years, including household budgeting and getting set up online to get cheaper bills and tariffs.

The property at Lincoln Road will increase the council’s stock of move-on accommodation for those coming out of supported and temporary accommodation and who have previously slept rough. It will reduce the numbers who have been staying in hotels, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At its peak, a total of 123 rough sleepers were housed in hotel accommodation, thanks to Government funding. The Safer Off the Streets partnership, including the Light Project Peterborough worked around the clock to provide meals, laundry and support such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

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Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic (March 2020), 103 former rough sleepers have been rehoused into long term accommodation.

And in autumn 2020, when the annual national rough sleeper count was completed - just nine people were found to be sleeping rough - a decrease of 75.7 per cent compared to the previous year.

Councillor Steve Allen, cabinet member for housing at Peterborough City Council, said: “The council is continually looking at options to increase its housing supply and the provision of accommodation, particularly for the homeless.

“This property is a great next step for those who have already made a determined commitment to stay off the streets and they will be supported by officers during a two-year tenancy, who will give them practical support to help them to achieve their aim of becoming financially independent while living in long-term accommodation.”

Christine Graham, chair of the Safer Off the Streets partnership, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and the money provided by the Government enabled our city to house all rough sleepers in hotel accommodation. We have been encouraged by how many have used this opportunity as a fresh start and to put actions in place to ensure they never go back to the streets again. Lincoln House will be an excellent place to help those looking to rebuild their lives again.”