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Peterborough bucks’ national trend for rough sleepers

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Two dozen people each night are thought to be sleeping rough on the streets of Peterborough.

The city council says the figure – the result of a one-night count last November – remains the same as the previous year.

Housing Needs Operations Manager Sarah Scase said: “To be able to maintain the same number as 2022 is fantastic, when nationally there has been such a substantial increase in the numbers of those who are rough sleeping”.

The council says the figure is compiled each November as part of a national rough sleeper count.

During the count, carried out in November 2023, Peterborough City Council’s housing team found 24 rough sleepers – exactly the same figure as when the count was carried out in 2022.

The count takes place every year at around the same time in autumn, and requires local authorities to submit counts or estimates, to create a snapshot of the state of rough sleeping across the country.

It does not take into account those who have been helped off the streets in the intervening period and is purely a snapshot on one night.

Housing Needs Operations Manager Sarah Scase said: “To be able to maintain the same number as 2022 is fantastic, when nationally there has been such a substantial increase in the numbers of those who are rough sleeping”.

Peterborough’s stable number contrasts with a national rise of 27 per cent from 2022, with an estimated 3,898 rough sleepers in England.

This is a decrease of 9 per cent since 2019, which was before the introduction of Covid-19 related measures and is 18 per cent lower than the peak in 2017.

However, it is an increase of 120 per cent since 2010, when the snapshot approach was introduced.

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Housing Needs Operations Manager Sarah Scase said: “To be able to maintain the same number as 2022 is fantastic, when nationally there has been such a substantial increase in the numbers of those who are rough sleeping.

“This is testament to the work of the team and the support of partners.”

Peterborough City Council says it has created a clear pathway for those sleeping rough, with a number of schemes either becoming live recently or due to come into effect during this year.

These include:

*A ‘Work Ready’ house to help six Peterborough Rough Sleepers to find work with wraparound help

*The purchase of 25 one-bed properties designed to help rough sleepers with multiple and complex needs through the Government’s Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme (SHAP) scheme.

*Fifteen other rough sleepers with multiple and complex needs are being helped off the streets in an initiative unique to Peterborough. The scheme, funded through Rough Sleeper Initiative funding and delivered by OneCIC, creates off the street accommodation alongside intensive support.

Cllr Peter Hiller, Cabinet Member for Housing, Growth and Regeneration, said: “Our housing team has continued its hard work to gain funds towards these projects and look after our rough sleepers.

“We continue to look for new and innovative ways to meet the various demands of our rough sleepers, dependent on their situations, and the success in achieving these bids is testament to the dedication and professionalism of our officers.”

The full rough sleeper data can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/rough-sleeping-snapshot-in-england-autumn-2023

If you see someone sleeping rough, please let the city council know at www.streetlinks.org.uk

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