Peterborough project supports 22 rough sleepers in one day as number of city families in B&B accommodation falls

The Garden House in the Cathedral Precincts EMN-190226-133037009
The Garden House in the Cathedral Precincts EMN-190226-133037009
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A Peterborough project supported 22 rough sleepers in a single day and has helped arrange for the clearance of several abandoned tents across the city.

The Garden House in the Cathedral Precincts is run by Light Project Peterborough and offers a wide range of daytime support to help rough sleepers transform their lives, with council outreach support workers on hand to give their assistance.

The project works as a hub for the city’s Safer Off The Streets partnership, which involves 17 different organisations working together.

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Last week, Peterborough’s housing needs service was closed while improvements were made to make the housing register process quicker and easier for users.

And the Safer Off The Streets team said it noticed a rise in demand for its services following the closure.

It said: “This week is a really busy week for the rough sleeper outreach officers following the service being closed last week with the introduction of the new electronic housing register.

“On average the rough sleeper outreach team see 12 to 14 people a day at the Garden House, but on Monday 22 individuals were seen and offered help and assistance which includes offering somewhere safe to sleep that night, to helping obtain identity documents to assist someone in finding employment as a way to help them find a route off the streets.

“We also visited numerous sites where rough sleeping has been reported throughout the city. This week we have reports of seven locations occupied by rough sleepers, some of which are known to the services and some are new.

“We have also arranged for the clearance of several tents that have been abandoned and helped two applicants obtain the keys to their new home, which is a great achievement.

“None of this work could be done without the public’s continued support of Safer Off The Streets. To inform us of a rough sleeper email housing.needs@peterborough.gov.uk or call us on 01733 864064.”

Members of the public can support the service by using the contactless card donation card window placed outside Argo Lounge in St Peter’s Arcade, next to Bridge Street.

Meanwhile, council leader Cllr John Holdich has revealed that the number of homeless families being placed in B&B type accommodation has fallen.

He said: “It’s fair to say our homeless strategy is working - we no longer have to house homeless families out of the area and the number of families in B&B accommodation has been reduced from 146 in September 2018 to 73 this month.

“Despite the 56 per cent rise in homeless applications, the number of families living in temporary accommodation has been kept steady at roughly 385 a month.

“This has been achieved by working with hundreds of families at risk of homelessness with the aim of keeping them in their own homes by building 29 homes together with Medesham Homes, by buying 51 homes on the open market and by working with landlords to secure an additional 48 homes.”