St Petrocs was initiated by the Diocese of Truro of the Church of England when clergy found homeless people coming to their church doors, or to their homes asking for help. Concerned that, at best, a bed for the night, a good breakfast, and a word of sympathy was an inadequate response to homeless people’s underlying needs, the church took action to set up ‘The Saint Petroc’s Society’.
Over 30 years later, homeless people are still coming to St Petrocs, regrettably in ever increasing numbers. In each of the last fifteen years, St Petrocs has seen an increase in the number of homeless people accessing its services against a background of reductions in Adult Social Care support services by Cornwall Council.
In Cornwall there is a disproportionate relationship between house prices and salaries – the average house price is almost 11 times more than the average annual salary in the county. Second homes and a shortage of affordable housing stock has led to almost 30% of the Cornish population renting, 17% of whom rent from private landlords. A recent survey carried out by Cornwall Community Foundation states that 72% of people consider private rented accommodation is not affordable for most people.
In the year 2017–2018, 162 clients were admitted to St Petrocs supported accommodation and services at our Resource Centres were utilised 19,101 times. In the same year, St Petrocs Assertive Street Outreach team met with 111 new clients, and 1,292 contacts were made with people sleeping rough. In each of the last 7 years, Cornwall has been found to be one of the top ten local authority areas with the highest number of people sleeping rough.
Between December 2017 and January 2018 our emergency winter night shelter provided shelter for 91 clients over 71 nights, and 66% of clients who used this service had positive move-on outcomes.
The services which St Petrocs now offers have been developed over the years in association with its partner agencies and in pursuance of local and national government initiatives. They are directed not only to relieving the immediate problems of homelessness, but to establishing pathways along which, if all goes well, the clients may progress to a settled life in the community.