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City Centre Rough Sleeping

08/08/2018 - City Centre Rough Sleeping

Matter for Decision

  i.  In early 2018, Councillor Bick and County Councillor Harrison, carried out an investigation into rough sleeping, and its impact on Cambridge. They produced a report with recommendations for the City Council, County Council, Police and other partners.

  ii.  Cllr Bick had requested that the Housing Scrutiny Committee consider his report.

  iii.  The covering report provided an officer response to the recommendations.


Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

  i.  Noted the report, and endorse the work already being carried out by the Homelessness team and our partners in delivering services to rough sleepers;

  ii.  Request that officers actively engage in the County Council review of supported accommodation, to seek to ensure an outcome that supports vulnerable people and prevents rough sleeping.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations


Councillor Bick and County Councillor Harrison introduced their report and responded to question from the Committee as follows:

  i.  No direct feedback had been sought from other Market Ward Councillors. It was not known whether they were supportive of the approach suggested.

  ii.  Stated that views on the installation of needle disposal bins in the public realm were mixed. Some felt they attracted users to already problematic areas.

  iii.  A Charter would generate greater publicity for the framework and the mission statement.

  iv.  The Charter would be a flexible tool to galvanise support.

  v.  A Housing first approach was desirable.

  vi.  Accommodation needs to be available at benefit levels.

 vii.  Comments from the County Council had been included in the report.

viii.  The small reduction in street sleeping was welcomed but this needed to be maintained.


The Committee received a report in response to the proposals from the Head of Housing and the Strategic Director (SH).


The Strategic Director (SH) stated that a Charter would be expensive and would divert resources from direct provision to public engagement. Cambridge was attractive to people from a wider geographical area and there were a high proportion of generous young people who would give to street beggars.

The Committee expressed concerns that Universal Credit would increase homelessness.

The Executive Councillor for Housing, Councillor Price, welcomed the report for highlighting an important issue. A lot of work was already being done but additional suggestions were always welcomed. 


Councillor Cantrill proposed the following additional recommendation to the Officer’s report:

Request that officers bring specific proposals to the October Housing Scrutiny Committee, for the preparation of a Cambridge Charter for Rough Sleeping and Street Life issues.


The amendment was lost by 5 votes to 3.


The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.