LETTER: Spell out help for rough sleepers in Peterborough after Valerie’s death

Tributes left at the spot where Valerie Collins was found this week
Tributes left at the spot where Valerie Collins was found this week
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I think that one death on the streets of Peterborough of a homeless person is one death too many.

Last week was the coldest week of many years in the UK, yet there was insufficient provision for the guys sleeping on the street.

Valerie Collins pictured in her usual surrounds in Bridge Street, Peterborough.

Valerie Collins pictured in her usual surrounds in Bridge Street, Peterborough.

I have written about this matter before on Facebook. I am told that there are times, individuals refuse to go into shelters but I also am aware there are so few beds spaces in Peterborough that only a select few can benefit.

Last week churches opened doors, PARCA run by Moez Nathu opened doors, all community efforts to protect our fellow human beings at risk of exposure in the most severe conditions.

Then reported by the Peterborough Telegraph on March 5, 2018 was the story of a lady who died that morning at the back of the Town Hall.

It was said by some and within the report that she may have had a home but preferred to live on the outside where she could interact and observe people.

People knew this lady by name. On Thursday morning of last week she called out to me as I walked by with a beautiful smile saying hello.

To me it matters not the rumour that she exited a home to avert isolation; this action simply highlights another community problem, that being the torment of loneliness.

What matters is there she met and touched lives, was well, and other lives touched and even enlightened hers. A word or kindness, a smile, a meal.

Our community cares, yesterday I saw three school children open their lunch boxes to feed a man sitting in his sleeping bag, why?

Because the sentiment of caring is infused even in our children. Loneliness, isolation and homeless these are our problems as one community in this city.

The Peterborough City Council website indicates they are making efforts to relieve homelessness in the City; my word to them is tell us how they are achieving this?

Tell us in large words on billboards in the same way the South Bank Quays development shouts out on Bridge Street.

We know the South Bank it is something we need. Peterborough needs money and the Quays is as good a plan as any.

Saying this, we also need help for our community, our citizens without homes who are sleeping rough on the streets.

My question is, are we to witness more deaths on our streets?

Is the council shaken enough to act with a peculiar wisdom running in juxtaposition to commerciality for the simple purpose of humanitarian relief for our city?

We are after all the fastest growing city in the sixth richest country in the world. This being a truism, is the council prepared to find necessary resources to even temporarily assist or relieve the degradation of rough sleeping, or otherwise inform us why this is not possible?

Sonya King - via email