Longhurst Group colleagues work shifts in hotel to help take rough sleepers off the streets in Peterborough

Colleagues from our homeless schemes in Peterborough are helping to staff a hotel in the city to accommodate rough sleepers during the coronavirus crisis.

After local authorities were ordered by the government to help rough sleepers off the streets following the outbreak of Covid-19, a plan was put into place in Peterborough.

Now, some of our colleagues are using their skills and expertise to support these rough sleepers while working shifts in the hotel that is being used to house them temporarily.

Fay Hirel, Head of Care and Support, said: “When the pandemic hit, the Ministry of Communities, Housing and Local Government instructed local authorities to ensure there were no rough sleepers on the streets and gave funding to support this.

“The Rough Sleeper Outreach Team and The Garden House identify rough sleepers and refer them into the hotel.

“A combination of relief and permanent staff from our schemes in the area have been working night shifts at the hotel to support our Safer Off The Streets partners.

“There have been four colleagues working there so far and we are currently working on the rota for the next six to eight weeks to ensure we are helping where we can.

“We are not currently running the crash beds at Fair View Court as these are communal facilities and therefore aren’t currently appropriate, so I offered to provide staffing where we could at the hotel instead.

“Our colleagues are supporting the rough sleepers in any way they can, from assisting with distributing the tons of food that is being donated, to ensuring any issues are addressed and listening and talking with them.”

Homelessness

Our colleagues are supporting the rough sleepers in any way they can, from assisting with distributing the tons of food that is being donated, to ensuring any issues are addressed and listening and talking with them.

Fay said there had been between 50 and 70 rough sleepers accommodated at the hotel since the scheme was launched.

She said: “The beds are available throughout the period of this pandemic and we are working with partners to plan for suitable move on opportunities for anyone who is currently in the hotel

“I am extremely proud of the staff that have stepped up to help. It’s a challenging environment at the hotel with such large numbers of people, but colleagues didn’t hesitate in coming forward.

“Having the opportunity of temporary accommodation for all rough sleepers is something that we have never seen before, so this is a golden opportunity to engage with people who may not have normally taken up an offer of accommodation for a variety of reasons.

“This is our chance to support them and work with partners to move as many people on as possible so that people don’t return to the streets once this is over.”

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