On Saturday 18 April, the Government announced that councils across England will receive a further £1.6 billion to help them deal with the immediate impacts of the coronavirus.
As part of the announcement, the Local Government Secretary has reported that over 5,400 people sleeping rough have been helped off the streets and from communal shelters during the pandemic.
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, comments: “This additional money is welcome and much needed if councils are to protect the members of our society who are most exposed and endangered by this pandemic.
“While it is a hugely significant step that over 5,400 people who were previously sleeping rough or in crowded night shelters have been helped off the streets, this is not a time for complacency.
“We understand that the Government is advising some local councils not to accommodate people sleeping rough who don’t meet certain criteria – such as those with no local connection to the area and those with no recourse to public funds due to their immigration status, rowing back on their earlier ambition to ‘get everyone in’. In the middle of a public health emergency, imposing such arbitrary barriers risks lives.
“While there are still people sleeping on the streets who are hungry and desperate, we urge the government to send a strong message to local councils that everybody, regardless of their circumstances, should be offered a safe haven during the pandemic.”