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'Community needs to get behind us': Charity wants temporary cabins for homeless

City charity Light Project Peterborough is urging members of the public to be more ‘accepting’ of their potential new neighbours.  
garden house new

Light Project, which runs the Garden House to support rough sleepers, is applying for planning permissions for portable cabins to house homeless people across Peterborough communities.

The Winter Night Shelter initiative is not going ahead for a second year this year due to the Covid guidance, but there will be some provisions in place from local authorities and charities if and when the weather gets extreme. 

Meanwhile, Light Project Petebrorough has been successful with funding to install temporary portable cabins to house homeless people during the winter months. 

Applications for four church sites in Peterborough including at the International Christian Centre on Lincoln Road (two cabins) and Christ the Carpenter Church Hall in Chestnut Avenue in Dogsthorpe, are being submitted to Peterborough City Council. 

Talking about provisions for the homeless people this winter, CEO of Light Project Peterborough, Steven Pettican said: "Fair play to the central government – they have said please don't run shared space shelters. 

“Instead, they have come back to say there is some money for these cabins and we applied for it. 

“I thought, let's try something different – let's see if we can link people over different areas and different churches - help them integrate into new communities, make new friends, new networks. 

“We have secured funding for a six month period for these temporary cabins, from October to March. But with planning process it’s going to be between January to March. 

“We have applications going through for four sites at the moment. We have funding for three but we are going for four. One of the sites has two cabins and the others have one each.  

“It’s the Millfield one that has planning applications for two cabins– they have a real need in the area. People are sleeping on their church doorsteps and they really want to help and do something about it. 

“But for me, let’s see if we get through planning permissions, and if local churches and local communities embrace homeless people staying in their area, in a different manner to the night shelter.  

“Getting local communities on board is key.  

“Take the Dogsthorpe church for example – the homeless person housed there might move onto getting a flat in the area, lead them to work there and becoming part of the community. So, the wider community is important for us in this project and we really need them to get behind us. 

“In terms of wider provisions, the rules have changed – the ‘everybody’ initiative during the heart of the pandemic. Is no longer running. If people are eligible according to the council structure and legalities, then chances are that they will get some sort of accommodation or support. 

“Unless there is a real surge in Covid case rates, there isn't a national or local thinking about getting everybody back in hotels. The council will have some extreme emergency weather provisions in place but how do we define extreme? 

“And if we see a need, we will allocate some funds to put people in hotels.” 

Light Project Petebrorough depends on donations from the members of the public. You can find out more about it here.