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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Back to the tents

March 03 2010
Breckland Council finds longer-term solution to rough sleeping during cold snap

The cold snap has helped one local council find longer-lasting solutions for rough sleepers. A group of Polish men who had been sleeping in tents in Norfolk were taken into temporary accommodation when the cold weather hit Britain before Christmas.

Previously, one of the group - 33-year-old Mariusz Fidos - was found dead from hypothermia in Barnham Common, Thetford. His twin brother Piotr and a handful of other Polish migrants were then taken into free emergency shelters. As migrants, unless the men had been in work for a full year or were currently employed, they would not be entitled to benefits for housing.

But the period the accommodation was open was scheduled to end, and local press raised the alarm for the group's well-being. As the freezing weather continued, they were given an extension until mid-January, which was re-introduced as the temperature dropped at the end of the month and in February.

Subsequently, one has been re-housed and another has taken up the offer of funds to cover repatriation to Poland.

Pam Sayle, speaking for Breckland Council, said: "Breckland Council's policy is to bring in rough sleepers in freezing weather and provide temporary accommodation, and the Council has an arrangement with the local police to identify and bring in rough sleepers in freezing weather conditions."