Large drop in rough sleepers in Peterborough

There has been a large drop in the number of rough sleepers in Peterborough over the past year.

Saturday, 27th February 2021, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 10:14 am

The annual rough sleeping snapshot, which takes place across the country, provides information about the estimated number of people sleeping rough on a single night between October 1 and November 30 each year.

And in Peterborough the number has fallen from 37 in 2019 to nine in 2020.

Last year’s total is also lower than at any point since 2010 when government records go back to.

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A person sleeping rough

Of the estimated nine rough sleepers, seven were male and two female, while seven were UK nationals, one was from the European Union and another’s nationality was unknown.

Moreover, eight were aged over 26, with the age of the other person unknown.

The figures for Peterborough were produced following a count in specific areas, as well as consultation with police, faith groups, outreach workers and substance misuse agencies, with the work independently verified by Homeless Link.

The large drop mirrors the national picture which shows that rough sleeping in England has fallen 43 per cent since 2018, with 2,688 people estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night in autumn 2020 compared to 4,677 in 2018.

Efforts to tackle rough sleeping have been accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic, with the Government funding local councils to put all rough sleepers into accommodation.

Since the pandemic began, in Peterborough more than 120 rough sleepers have been accommodated in hotels, with the majority subsequently supported into longer term accommodation.

This work has been supported by Light Project Peterborough’s multi-agency floating support service which includes staff from Cross Keys Homes and Longhurst Group.

In Fenland, the number of rough sleepers has fallen from 23 in 2018 to 11 in 2019 and five in 2020.

Moreover, in South Kesteven the number of rough sleepers over the past 12 months has fallen from seven to six, in South Holland it has fallen from 12 to six, and in East Northamptonshire it has fallen from 10 to five

However, in Huntingdonshire the number of rough sleepers has risen from four in 2019 to eight in 2020.

Cllr Steve Allen, cabinet member for housing at Peterborough City Council, said: “Over the last year the number of rough sleepers on our streets have reduced significantly as a result of the extra funding received from government to allow us to support them during the pandemic. This has enabled us to provide safe accommodation for them to move off the streets and isolate should they need to.

“Our staff have been working extremely hard to keep these extremely vulnerable members of the community safe during the pandemic, and it is great to see this reflected in the reduction in the number of rough sleepers across the city.

“Many entrenched rough sleepers have used this opportunity to turn their lives round, accepting the help to move into longer-term accommodation after prolonged stays in hotel accommodation last spring. Those with further challenges, such a drug and alcohol issues, have been more willing to engage, enabling us to offer vital support services.

“As we begin to recover from the pandemic as a city we will continue to provide an outreach service going out into the community three times a week, responding to people’s alerts using the StreetLinks app and visiting more entrenched rough sleepers who are suffering with issues, such as drug and alcohol reliance.

“We urge people to call 864064 to report a rough sleeper. This allows us to contact them and offer them accommodation, although some may refuse this offer. Alternatively, please download the national Streetlinks app.”