Tackling Homelessness

Several local residents have contacted me about people rough sleeping on Old Railway Walk from Newham to County Hall and Coosebean/Comprigney to Newmills. As regular readers will know I am determined to eradicate homelessness and have worked hard to ensure that resources are available to enable this to happen.  

I have raised my concerns and those of residents with the Chief Executive of Cornwall Council and have been assured action is being taken to help. 

Cornwall Housing Limited has contacted the St Petroc’s Assertive Street Outreach and the Anti-Social Behaviour Team and has raised my concerns with the Cornwall Rough Sleeping Operational Group (CRSOG) and Safer Cornwall Truro Operational Group. 

St Petroc’s have provided assurances that they regularly visit these areas. The individual at Comprigney Fields and the individuals currently at Newham are known to them and are generally engaging with services at either their Truro Resource Centre or the Outreach Team. Cornwall Housing’s Rough Sleeping Link worker is also working with those who wish to engage to find a solution to their rough sleeping and I can confirm that these site visits and works to engage with the rough sleepers will continue. 

The Chief Executive of Cornwall Council confirmed that through the Cornwall Rough Sleeping Reduction Strategy and the Government’s Rough Sleepers Initiative funding, Cornwall Council, Cornwall Housing Ltd. and partners are making continued efforts to reduce the incidence of rough sleeping in Cornwall. Cornwall reported a 31% reduction in its estimate of the incidence of rough sleeping over the year to November 2017. 

If you see someone rough sleeping call 01872 264153 as help is available. 

Over the Christmas period there will be a number of services operating across Cornwall to support rough sleepers. St Petroc’s Temporary Night Shelter will operate from 17 December 2018 until 18 February 2019 providing 17 spaces. A ‘pop up’ temporary night shelter at the Breadline Centre, Penzance opened on the 5 November 2018 and will provide 8-10 spaces until 18 February 2019.  

Coastline Housing has provided an additional 6 crisis bed spaces which opened on 16 October 2018. This means there are now 18 night spaces which will remain available until the opening of new Crisis Accommodation at Heartlands in April 2019. Furthermore, Coastline are providing two additional Assertive Street Outreach workers to ensure rough sleepers can be identified and assessed as quickly as possible.  

In addition, the Council is introducing further schemes to assist rough sleepers. The Private Landlord Incentive scheme encourages landlords to rent to former rough sleepers by mitigating the perceived risk of taking them as tenants through increased deposits, an additional 10% of LHA payment, limited void cover and a point of contact if problems arise. 

The Short Term Accommodation Resettlement (STAR) scheme is providing additional accommodation with support for rough sleepers before they move on to settled housing. 

Finally, thank you to the small army of volunteers who support St Petroc’s, Addaction and Coastline Housing.  

First published in the West Briton 13/12/18