The Government has announced a further £105 million to support local authorities in ensuring that people currently accommodated in emergency accommodation do not return to the streets.
At the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, local authorities were asked to bring ‘Everyone In’ and help move rough sleepers off the streets during the outbreak. Nearly 15,000 people accommodated in emergency accommodation were able to self-isolate safely – potentially saving countless lives.
The Government has taken this as a unique opportunity to ensure that arrangements are in place in local areas to support people in this accommodation, and that basic health needs of symptomatic and asymptomatic rough sleepers are met. This includes ensuring that they are registered with their GPs, and that substance misuse and mental health assessments are carried out where appropriate. We are currently working on co-producing plans with local authorities to ensure the sustainable move on from emergency accommodation.
In addition to this, the Government has also provided a further £16 million in funding to be made available this financial year – bringing the total to £23 million – to fund substance dependence treatment. This will help to build on and maintain the engagement people have had with substance dependence services whilst in emergency accommodation as they move into safer, long-term accommodation. We will work with local authorities to enable them to share good practice and track progress in the steps they have taken to help the most vulnerable in our society.
Last month, Secretary of State and Dame Louise Casey announced funding to provide 3,300 long-term, safe homes for vulnerable rough sleepers this year. This builds on the progress already made through the Rough Sleeping Initiative – which was backed with £112 million this year – to deliver on our manifesto commitment to end rough sleeping for good.
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said: “Coronavirus poses a threat to everyone and it is only right that rough sleepers are afforded the support necessary to keep them safe. I am very proud of the work the Government has done to support rough sleepers and people who are homeless, and I hope it will use this unique opportunity to build on the great work already done.”