The number of rough sleepers on the streets of Norwich more than doubled between 2013 and 2014, according to city council figures. The council said the rise was due to more people having arrived in Norwich from elsewhere – though from how far afield is unclear.
An annual survey in November 2014 found 13 people sleeping out, compared to just five the year before – the average between 2010 and 2013.
The figures do not account for people offered emergency housing by the council, or those sofa-surfing with friends or family.
The number of people sleeping rough on the streets of Ipswich is at its highest since 2010.
The figures do not account for people who are sofa surfers and people staying in shelters, hostels and refuge services.
Also, the Eastern Daily Press reports here,
Tending the allotment in the grounds of the former convent he now calls home, with free-range chickens pecking around his feet, he admits it could have been a different story.
“If I hadn’t ended up here, I’d still be homeless. I’d probably be dead from the drink,” he says.
Having struggled with a drink problem since the age of 14, the 43-year-old moved into a shared house after his stepfather’s death, but when that fell through, he found himself on the streets.
The death of a man sleeping rough in Norwich last week was not lost on him – having survived for four months himself, he knows all too well the dangers.
Life on the streets was a daily battle: finding somewhere safe to sleep, a public toilet to wash in and enough food to eat, all while accepting the disapproving looks and derogatory comments of those who passed him. “People look down on you because they think you’re dirty,” he added.
“I never begged, but people don’t give you a lot of respect because you aren’t working. That then makes you feel down in yourself, and you drink more.”
Now two-and-a-half months on from his last drink, the 43-year-old is part of the Emmaus Norwich community, run by the homelessness charity at its base in Ditchingham, near Bungay.
It just so happens that Emmaus are also starting a project in Ipswich at the former Royal Oak on Felixstowe Road. Emmaus Ipswich will provide work opportunities and experience to those who have been unemployed for a long time and those that are homeless or at risk of being so.
Their website says
Our ambition is to introduce to Ipswich new ways of tackling entrenched homelessness and unemployment by enabling and empowering people to help themselves through meaningful activity, that will benefit both themselves and others. We need your support to start our shop and offer immediate volunteering opportunities to 30 long term unemployed people in Ipswich. The shop will in the long term income generate beyond its costs to enable us to diversify our services and look towards offering accommodation, as well as work experience opportunities.