Rough sleepers in Peterborough to receive direct GP support thanks to government funding

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Rough sleepers in Peterborough will receive direct contact from a GP after the city council received a government grant of £285,000.

The new GP initiative is one of many proposed by the council to support rough sleepers to get off the streets and to assist in getting them a home and training/employment.

A rough sleeper in St Peter's Arcade

A rough sleeper in St Peter's Arcade

Other initiatives include offering all year round emergency shelter accommodation for up to 10 rough sleepers and an extension of the current winter night shelter provision offered by the Light Project Peterborough from the current 13 weeks up to 20 weeks.

Cllr Irene Walsh, cabinet member for communities, said: “We have worked hard to secure extra funding and are pleased that the Government has recognised our bid.

“This extra funding will make a significant difference to positive work already underway with partners across the city, and will support the delivery of our new Homelessness Reduction

Strategy which was approved by Full Council last month.”

The Government funding will in part pay for a GP ​to travel to known​​ rough sleeper spots in the city to offer medical advice and support as currently many fail to see a doctor.

All of the nine new initiatives are expected to be running by November.

The funding is solely for the 2018/19 financial year. Further discussions between the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the council will take place over the coming months regarding continued funding in 2019/20.

There were an estimated 31 rough sleepers in Peterborough last November, but the council insists everybody living on the streets is offered help.

Cllr Walsh added: “Already, the leader of the council and I have visited the Emmaus homeless charity in Landbeach near Cambridge. This organisation provides best practice outreach work to help people get off the streets and into a stable home and meaningful work.

“We are hoping to replicate this in Peterborough. Last week our cabinet approved an advisory group to investigate the necessary steps required to launch this in the city.”

Other initiatives to be brought include:

. Increasing the rough sleeper outreach team from two officers to four.

. Expanding the current Severe Weather Emergency Provision offered by Axiom Housing.

. Increasing specialist outreach to support those with drug and alcohol misuse issues.

. Appointing two specialist workers to help single people to maintain their accommodation.