Raft of measures announced to support rough sleepers after the pandemic
- Credit: PA
The head of the Covid-19 rough sleeping taskforce has warned “the pandemic is not over”, as the Government announced a raft of measures to help homeless people.
Speaking at the Downing Street briefing on Sunday, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government said 6,000 new supported homes will be made available for rough sleepers, with funding to fast track safe accommodation.
Announcing plans, Robert Jenrick thanked the charities and local councils which had helped to find safe accommodation for people during the pandemic.
“I want to thank everyone who’s been involved in this huge national effort. Thousands of lives have been protected because of your work,” he said.
He said it is not time to “look ahead”, adding: “Our goal has always been that as few people as possible return to the streets, but words and promises are not enough.”
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Mr Jenrick said the first time in a long time authorities knew who the vast majority of rough sleepers were and where they were, meaning their needs could be assessed.
“Some people will need help to return to the private rental sector, but others will need accommodation to be provided so that they can start to rebuild their lives.
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“That’s why 6,000 new supported homes will be made available for rough sleepers, providing safe accommodation for people we’ve helped off the streets during the pandemic.
“The Government is backing this effort with £433 million to fast track the safe accommodation desperately needed to ensure as few rough sleepers as possible return to the streets.
“3,300 of these new homes will become available in the next 12 months, and £160 million will be spent this year to deliver that.”
Dame Louise Casey, head of the Covid-19 rough sleeping taskforce, warned “the pandemic is not over” and warned vulnerable people must still be protected.
“For homeless people the task was to bring as many people in off the streets and out of communal shelters,” she told the Downing Street press conference.
“The goal was to protect rough sleepers from the virus, give them the chance to self-isolate and ultimately therefore do the best we can to save their lives.”