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Source: City of Cambridge

AS THE weather turns colder, Cambridge City Council and its partner agencies are gearing up to provide additional support to people sleeping rough in the city as part of its Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP).

The SWEP, funded by the council and managed by Jimmy’s Cambridge and Cambridge Churches Homeless Project (CCHP), gives individuals free accommodation and support to help them off the streets of Cambridge.

This winter, 46 beds will be on offer for people who need them. 29 of these beds are managed by homelessness charity Jimmy’s Cambridge, with an additional 17 beds (from the beginning of December to the end of March) managed by the Cambridge Churches Homeless Project.

For a second year, the council is welcoming the Cambridge Salvation Army as a key partner in delivering this year’s arrangements. Jimmy’s Cambridge will be managing 20 bed-spaces at the Salvation Army’s site on Mill Road as part of the provision. The council also thanks Riverside Care and Support, Jimmy’s Cambridge and CCHP for their hard work over the winter period.

The additional help during the winter forms part of a much wider network of services offered by the council and partners to help people find and sustain accommodation after losing their home, and to access the support they need to leave the streets for good.

This includes:

  • The development of a “Housing First” programme for the benefit of long-term rough sleepers;
  • A £700,000 fund for 2019/20 for the benefit of homelessness prevention and relief;
  • A dedicated street-life partnership group set up to help enduring rough sleepers into accommodation;
  • An extended Street Outreach service, which now operates on weekday evenings between 6pm and 8pm;
  • The extension of the council’s social lettings agency Townhall Lettings, and a Single Homelessness Service that has housed over 500 local people since its inception.

Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “The steps we have taken with our partners this winter mean that nobody needs to be without a bed in Cambridge during bad weather.

“Anyone taking advantage of a bed during the winter months will also be offered support and advice to address their specific needs, and to help them move away from rough sleeping and into accommodation.”

Barry Griffiths, Communications and Communities Officer at Jimmy’s, said: “Jimmy’s Cambridge is pleased to be working in partnership with the council and Salvation Army, to deliver this critical service at a difficult time of year.”

For updates about when SWEP will be in effect over the winter period, visit the council’s website, Twitter and Facebook pages.

There are many ways residents can help rough sleepers including by donating to charity, volunteering their time, providing employment opportunities for former rough sleepers, or even letting their homes out through the council’s social lettings agency Townhall Lettings. However, there are three things that Cambridge residents can do to help in particular:

  1. Report if someone is sleeping rough via Streetlink by calling 0300 500 0914 or visiting www.streetlink.org.uk
  2. Donate to Cambridge Street Aid, the charitable fund helping people to get off,  and stay off, the streets. This can be done via one of the many contactless giving points in the city or via the online giving page: www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/cambridgeshirecommunity/csa
  3. Visit the new Street Support website for further details of the services operating in the city: https://streetsupport.net/cambridge/

MIL OSI United Kingdom