Cornwall sees rise in number of rough sleepers

A survey carried out in Cornwall during May and June has revealed an increase in the number of people who consider themselves to be sleeping rough.

The research, by Cornwall Council, found 88 people said they had slept out for more than a week.

A survey in October 2010 revealed that 76 people identified themselves as sleeping rough.

The council said the increase was due in part to a change in the way information was collected.

The method, which has been commended by other authorities, national organisations and central government, uses a self-assessment approach.

It asks people who access services at day centres, homeless projects, soup kitchens and One Stop Shops across Cornwall to complete a short questionnaire about their housing status.

'Working hard'

Jane Barlow, Cornwall Council head of housing, said: "We expected to see an increase in numbers as we have improved the scope of the survey to include the whole of Cornwall.

"Having said that, it is still an increase and we are working hard with our partners to target outreach and resources to help entrenched rough sleepers find routes off the street, as well specifically targeting those new to rough sleeping."

Mark Kaczmarek, Cornwall Council cabinet member for housing, said: "Housing and getting rough sleepers off the streets is a priority for this council.

"The last survey revealed some high figures and this new exercise has provided even more information on the extent of rough sleeping in Cornwall.

"We will continue to work with our partners in the voluntary sector to tackle the issue head on."

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