Week commencing 7 October 2019

Last week the outreach team were up and about early with colleagues from the Garden House, and Peterborough City Council completing our bi-monthly count of rough sleepers. Starting at 4am at the Garden House and finishing back in the City Centre at 8am we found thirty one rough sleepers.

The count is always thorough, we usually split into smaller teams of three and four in order to cover as much of the Peterborough area as we can. We use the reports we receive from partner agencies such as local housing associations reporting incidents of rough sleepers in communal stairwells and electric cupboards, self reports from people coming into the garden house and telling us that they have rough slept in a location, and reports made to housing needs and street link as well as our own knowledge of sites built up from our daily outreach.

All in all, the team covered eight miles on foot, scrambling through the undergrowth to find vulnerable people living in tents and makeshift shelters as well as those in tents in locations such as the embankment and the most visible of our vulnerable rough sleepers sleeping out in the city centre.

Everyone agrees that no one should need to rough sleep in Peterborough, and our team and colleagues work daily to offer people accommodation. It is not always accepted, and there are many reasons for this, sometimes it is not the right time, or too daunting for people to move into unfamiliar surroundings, and can often feel that it is limiting peoples liberties to make them accept the boundaries that accommodation comes along with.

This week, two long term rough sleepers have moved into their own homes, but this comes with new challenges. What is it that makes it feel like home… having furniture, your own bedding, a cooker and a fridge, somewhere to store your clothes, as well as the more personal touches. This is where the real struggles start for a lot of people, and our partners in floating support roles really help us out, supporting people into making their place to live, start to feel like an achievable home.

By regularly engaging with our rough sleepers, we are able to build trust and good relationships helping people to break down their barriers and supporting people into accommodation that will meet their needs, this is an ongoing task, and it doesn’t always work first time, but we continue to work with people until we find the place that they feel they can call home.

Week commencing 30 September 2019
The Rough Sleeper outreach team go out to visit all reports of rough sleepers that we receive, whether these reports are provided by the Streetlink app, the city council’s online rough sleeping reporting form, or by calls into housing needs and the customer contact centre.
We use the reports we receive to inform our hotspot areas, if we know of an area that has rough sleepers we will repeatedly visit the sites to offer support and work with the person to assess their housing needs and make an offer of accommodation. If we find that someone is not eligible for help with housing in the UK we still continue to offer them support, to either find a way to make them eligible for assistance, or support them to return to their family and support networks in their home countries. Sometimes it may seem that we have not visited a site, because tents are still there. But there are many reasons that tents stay put – sometimes they are abandoned and we need to arrange clearance, sometimes the people sleeping in them are not eligible for assistance and sometimes, its just not the right time for someone to accept an offer of accommodation.
Last week we assisted one rough sleeper to make contact with his family in Poland, who were really pleased to hear that he was able to get help to return to them by bus, direct from Peterborough Bus station.
Finding somewhere to live is not always the straightforward answer for people though, sometimes its the continuation of a real struggle, living on the streets is stressful but so is moving into your own place, having to deal with bills, and benefits changes and not having the support or essentials to make your new place a home.
Your support of Safer off the Streets helps to target support directly to those that need it most from feeding them at the Soup Kitchen offering access to support at the Garden House to helping them to access advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau. It may only be small change, but it empowers people to make real changes in their lives.
For more information or to donate to Safer off the Streets visit www.saferoffthestreets.co.uk

Week commencing 23 September 2019

It’s been another busy week for the outreach officers at Peterborough City Council. Working in partnership with our colleagues at the Light Project Peterborough,Trudy Allen supported 41 individuals who are or have been rough sleeping in Peterborough. Of these 41 individuals we have been able to work with private landlords to offer four individuals rooms in private accommodation, three were supported by Cross Keys in temporary accommodation, four were supported by PARCA with applying for EEA settled status, one was supported by Adult Social Care with accommodation and health appointments. Dr Beesley from Boroughbury Medical Practice saw six patients, and endless cups of tea and coffee were made by dedicated volunteers and lots of rough sleepers were fed by partner organisations at the soup kitchen.

Rough Sleeper Outreach Officer Victoria Taylor worked with the Estates Services team to support a rough sleeper who had built a hut complete with underfloor heating all from recycled materials in wood land at Thorpe Meadows. The Estate Services team have been working hard with the rough sleeper to ensure the land is returned back to its proper purpose. The rough sleeper was really co-operative and had already started to deconstruct the building when asked to vacate, working with our rough sleeper outreach officers he was supported to access health services through our partners at Boroughbury Medical Centre, as well as support to claim benefits, housing advice and employment advice through Reed employment agency at the Garden House. Hopefully this will result in him being able to gain a CSCS card and accessing full time employment.

It all goes to show what a busy partnership the Safer off the Streets team is.

In addition to this work we visited sites across the city to offer support to individuals from Itter Crescent, to Orton and Ferry Meadows.

If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough you can report them to the team by calling 01733 864064, emailing housing.needs@peterborough.gov.uk download the streetlink app.

Week commencing 16 September 2019

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 12-14 people a day at the Garden House, but on Monday 16 September, 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.