How do I get help for a rough sleeper?
If you spot someone sleeping rough and want to make sure local authorities are aware and able to offer accommodation and help, get in contact with Peterborough City Council in one of the following ways:
The information you provide will be shared directly with the Rough Sleeper Outreach Team.
I have some spare blankets, shoes, coats or a tent. Where can I donate?
The average age of a rough sleeper is just 47, which is why it’s our aim to support individuals in leaving the streets for good. By giving someone a blanket it may mean they are less likely to seek support, and will instead stay in their current situation on the streets – which means their life expectancy is less.
All our partners in the Safer Off the Streets partnership have a plentiful supply of blankets and bedding which is provided to individuals when they access accommodation. Sadly Peterborough City Council spend a lot of time and money collecting up surplus bedding and tents left around the city by rough sleepers which is thrown on the street when it becomes dirty or old. If you want to donate these items, contact your local charity shop or the Salvation Army, who will donate on your behalf to people in need.
What is the Safer Off the Streets partnership?
The Safer Off the Streets partnership is formed of voluntary, faith, community and public organisations in Peterborough. All these organisations work together with the central aim of getting rough sleepers off the streets for good and into accommodation and training/employment. All partners have signed the Homelessness Charter
Where does the Safer Off the Streets funding go?
The money raised through Safer Off the Streets goes to the Garden House day shelter, which is located in the Cathedral Grounds. This is a day shelter which was started by city charity The Light Project Peterborough. It is a hub for partnership working. It offers rough sleepers, who are referred to as ‘guests’, a friendly face, a cup of hot tea or coffee and access to a range of drop-in support services. Support includes help finding accommodation, training, employment, GP services, chiropody, art classes and drug and alcohol support. It is manned by volunteers, who work with partner agencies, like rough sleeper outreach officers from Peterborough City Council who use the Garden House as a base.
I want to donate money to the Safer Off the Streets partnership, what should I do?
First of all, thank you for thinking of us! You can donate to the partnership in 3 ways:
1. Online at www.saferoffthestreets.co.uk
2. Contactless card point at St Peter’s Arcade, Bridge Street
3. Cash donation boxes at The Town Hall and Visitor Information Centre in Bridge Street
What does the council do to help rough sleepers?
The Rough Sleeper Outreach Team work together with other Safer Off the Streets partners to engage with rough sleepers across the city on a daily basis to support and empower these individuals to leave the streets. This is usually done by offering help in dealing with issues that initially led to the person becoming a rough sleeper. It will always include an offer of accommodation and a long term housing plan to get them into permanent, settled accommodation with tenancy support. We work with a whole range of partners across the city to ensure the offer given to rough sleepers is comprehensive and meets all of their individual needs.
What is “the offer of accommodation” that the council gives?
The Rough Sleeper Outreach Team has a number of different “offers” of accommodation which may be made to rough sleepers and the offer depends on the stage at which the individual is at with their accommodation journey. The initial offer for most rough sleepers will almost always be access to the one of ten crash beds which we have available. It may be a place on the Peterborough Winter Night Shelter, run in partnership with Light Project Peterborough, or it may be a place at the direct access hostel. Whatever the offer made, it is a safe, warm, secure place for a rough sleeper to rest and receive support to move onto the next stage of the journey.
Why are there still people on our streets when the council claim that no one needs to sleep rough?
Sadly, some individuals in the city continue to sleep rough despite being made offers of accommodation. This is because, at that particular moment in time, they are not ready to engage with this offer or to access the support services available. This is usually due to entrenched problems with addictions to drugs and/or alcohol, and perhaps mental health issues. The rough sleeper outreach team will still continue to engage with these individuals, reminding the individual that the offer of accommodation and support is still available at a time that is right for them. Support available to rough sleepers includes GP services and help from Aspire, the drug and alcohol support agency.
Can rough sleepers claim benefits?
Yes. To make a claim for benefit, rough sleepers can give a ‘care of’ address and there are services in the city which offer a care of address to ensure that a claim can be made. Many of the rough sleepers in the city have benefits in payment.
Should I give a rough sleeper money?
No. Giving money to beggars in the city only helps to support that individual in continuing their life on the streets. Also, do not presume that people who are begging are homeless. We know that professional beggars do operate in cities up and down the UK.
The average life expectancy of a rough sleeper is just 47, which is why it’s our aim to do all we can to encourage individuals in taking the first step to accessing help and empowering them to start their journey to leave the streets for good. Directing them to the Garden House in the Cathedral Grounds where they can meet a friendly face, have a hot drink and engage with the rough sleeper support services is more likely to have a positive effect. If you would like to make a financial donation we would ask you to donate via the Safer off the Streets project, which raises money to keep the Garden House open.
Should I give a rough sleeper a hot drink and/or food?
Yes of course. This is a lovely thing to do, particularly if it is cold outside or you want to strike up a conversation to check they have been given an offer of accommodation. If they have not, make sure the council is aware of who the person is and where they are located.