Help for homeless immigrants in Cambridgeshire

A post has been created specifically to help immigrants living on Cambridgeshire's streets.

Cambridge City Council gained a government grant to fund a homelessness officer for the county, for a one-year trial period.

Catherine Smart, executive councillor for housing, said many rough sleepers were from Eastern European countries.

The officer will liaise with the UK Border Agency to help repatriate those who wish to return home.

No benefits

"Some have got themselves into a bit of a mess over getting a job and they can be helped as well," Ms Smart said.

"We know we have 12 people living on the streets in Cambridge who came here from Eastern Europe hoping to find work.

"They are members of the eight accession states (eastern and central European countries that joined the EU in 2004) so it's perfectly legal for them to be here for work.

"But those people are not eligible for benefits that other European workers are, until they have been here a considerable length of time."

She said that one of the tasks of the officer would be to assess the number of immigrants living rough in other parts of the county.

The Department of Communities and Local Government provided the Liberal Democrat-led council with funding to create the post to help "people without recourse to public funds".

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