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A new mentoring scheme to offer support to Eastern Europeans at risk of rough sleeping has been launched.
The East European Peer Navigator Project, run by homeless charity Lift and the Eastern European Advice Centre, will also work with migrants who are already homeless to help them find a way off the streets and rebuild their lives.
A team of around 40 peer navigators, all of whom will speak the major East European languages, will be trained up to work with staff from frontline homelessness agencies. The aim is to help connect East European clients into services which already exist in the community, but which they are currently not using due either to language or cultural barriers, or because they simply don't know they exist.
The project, which also involves The Passage and West London Churches Homeless Concern and will run throughout 2014, is funded by the Homeless Transition Fund.
According to the latest data from CHAIN (the Combined Homeless and Information Network), 471 people from Central and Eastern Europe slept rough in London from Sept 1-Oct 31 last year. People from these countries, including Poland and Romania, account for almost a third of rough sleepers in the capital.