Extra £1.5m to support homeless people helped with housing during Covid lockdown
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
More than £1.5m has been awarded to help keep roofs over the heads of more than 120 homeless people who were given emergency accommodation in Norwich at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
When the first Covid-19 lockdown was introduced in March, councils were instructed by the government to get people who were sleeping rough into emergency accommodation.
Norwich City Council said it had housed more than 120 people and the vast majority of them have now been settled into more permanent housing.
The government just awarded the council some £1.5m through its Next Steps Accommodation programme, as well as £25,000 from its Cold Weather Fund. to prevent those who have been helped from returning to a life on the streets.
With the second national lockdown now in place until December 2, the city council is working with its partners in the Pathways project to help people who have found themselves back on the street, or homeless for the first time.
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Kevin Maguire, Norwich City Council cabinet member with responsibility for rough sleeping, said: “While the initial focus was on supporting people into accommodation in the short term, Covid-19 has helped to speed up our ambitions to bring an end to rough sleeping in Norwich.
“This welcome influx of money helps us continue to develop plans to get the support, services and move-on accommodation in place so that no one is forced to return to the street.
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“However, as winter approaches and with the pandemic still with us, the risk of people being pushed into homelessness increases.
“It’s vital that the government continues to provide the necessary funding to allow local councils to provide safe and secure accommodation, as well as support to rebuild lives.”
The council and its partners have put in place extra measures under the Severe Weather Emergency Provision.
Under that protocol, bed spaces are made available after a temperature of zero degrees celsius or lower is forecast for at least three consecutive nights.
If people are concerned about someone they have seen sleeping out, they can report details through www.streetlink.orgWhen the government ordered councils to find homes for homeless people at the start of the pandemic, Dr Jan Sheldon, the chief executive of Norwich’s St Martins’ Housing Trust, described it as a “once in a generation” opportunity to put an end to rough sleeping.