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Jimmy’s welcomes council decision to house all Cambridge’s rough sleepers




Mark Allan, chief executive at Jimmy’s Cambridge, in the organisation’s East Road centre. Picture: Keith Heppell
Mark Allan, chief executive at Jimmy’s Cambridge, in the organisation’s East Road centre. Picture: Keith Heppell

Jimmy’s Cambridge has welcomed the decision by Cambridge City Council to guarantee every rough sleeper in Cambridge a roof over their heads.

The move was confirmed late yesterday (March 24) following the government lockdown across the UK in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.

“We are working very closely with the city council, and have found them to very proactive and supportive, acting quickly to support the needs of people sleeping rough on the streets,” said Jimmy’s Cambridge chief executive Mark Allan. “The offer of accommodation is very positive.

Jimmy’s remains open and the team of staff and volunteers have acted quickly to make sure wekeep ourselves and all of our residents safe and well. We are closed for visitors, but we will still take in new people who are experiencing homelessness, subject to extra checks, as that’s what we do and have been doing for the last 25 years.

“We realise all fundraising events have stopped, however we welcome creative and safe ways of helping us raise funds at this difficult time, appreciating that many people are in difficult financial positions themselves at the moment. It’s very challenging for us, as it is for everyone, but we will get through it.”

Homeless no more as Cambridge rough sleepers are offered council accommodation. Picture: Andy Jones
Homeless no more as Cambridge rough sleepers are offered council accommodation. Picture: Andy Jones

The council says it has “has identified some of its own properties, and is in discussions with housing associations, hoteliers, bed and breakfast providers and some private landlords to ensure that the council is in a position to respond to demand as it arises”.

Cllr Richard Johnson, executive councillor for housing, said: “Rough sleepers represent some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Many have underlying health conditions and dependencies which may make them more susceptible to coronavirus. Their situation does also not make self-isolation straightforward.

“They need the council and its partners more than ever at this time. We need to be on the front foot in this vital effort to save lives, and to that end the council is working closely with local organisations to ensure that not only properties, but follow-up support services to these groups, are available.”

Services on the streets for rough sleepers are continuing to operate and the council is working closely with these services to ensure rough sleepers are kept safe by offering the routes to housing and support that they need. Anyone concerned about somebody sleeping rough at this time can notify the council here or phone Streetlink on 0300 500 0914.

In the meantime, the council’s broader housing advice services continue. If any resident is threatened with homelessness during the coronavirus outbreak, they can contact the council on 01223 457918.



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