Number of rough sleepers in Wisbech thought to be 16 says Fenland Council - double the number of a year ago
- Credit: Archant
The number of rough sleepers in Wisbech has doubled since the beginning of the year, says Fenland Council.
In January the council told the Cambridge News – as part of a county wide study – that the district listed only seven rough sleepers. But that figure has rocketed says the latest statement from Fenland Council after completing a night time count of rough sleepers in the town.
A council spokesman said: “Information gathered from staff and partners ahead of the count estimated the number of rough sleepers to be 16, with nine being found on the night.
“The findings will now be passed on to the government to help build a national picture of rough sleeping.”
The count followed guidelines set by Homeless Link, a government advisory charity which works with organisations involved in supporting homeless people.
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Sabeel Mohammed, Homeless Link’s rough sleeper count verifier, joined the Wisbech count together with Fenland District Council officials, police and homelessness charity, the Ferry Project; the survey was carried out in the early hours of November 24.
Mr Mohammed, who verifies rough sleeper counts in towns and cities across the country, said after the Wisbech count: “It was really good to see the amazing partnership working in Fenland. “It was one of the best examples I have seen.”
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Council staff, police officers and volunteers spent the night on the streets to establish how many people have no roof over their head.
All rough sleepers found on the night were offered advice and information on the support available to them.
The count follows the awarding of grants from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Controlling Migration Fund to support homelessness initiatives in Fenland.
In July, Fenland Council was awarded £86,400 for an outreach project to tackle migrant homelessness and a further £134,897 to expand the Ferry Project’s Wisbech Emergency Night Shelter.
A further £736,000 of government funding was granted earlier this year for the Homelessness Trailblazer project to address homelessness in Wisbech and other towns across the whole of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority area.
Councillor Will Sutton, the council’s Cabinet member responsible for private sector housing, who joined the count, said: “We are working hard with our partners to help anyone facing homelessness and our recent success in bidding for government grants is strengthening our ability to help rough sleepers off the streets and to prevent others from ending up in that situation.
“I would encourage people to get in touch with us if they suspect someone is sleeping rough.
“If we can talk to the person directly then we can make sure they are aware of the support and services available to them which may be able to help them into longer-term accommodation.”
Anyone who is homeless or anyone who witnesses signs of rough sleeping can contact the council’s rough sleep support service for help. Call 01354 654321 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For reporting signs of rough sleeping, callers are asked to provide precise location and what was seen, time and date.