Winter support package for rough sleepers

Winter support package for rough sleepers

9:38 AM, 13th October 2020, About 3 years ago 6

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Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced a support package to help keep rough sleepers and those at risk of becoming homeless safe this winter in the press release below:

This will give local areas the tools and funding they need to protect people from life-threatening cold weather and the risks posed by coronavirus.

Today’s announcement includes:

-A new £10 million Cold Weather Fund to support councils get rough sleepers off the streets during the winter by helping them to provide more self-contained accommodation.

-An additional £2 million for faith and community groups to help them provide secure accommodation for rough sleepers.

-Comprehensive guidance to the sector, produced with Public Health England, Homeless Link and Housing Justice to help shelters open more safely, where not doing so would endanger lives.

These measures will help councils build on their existing plans to protect people over winter which have been supported by the £266 million Next Step Accommodation Programme, the aim of which is to keep people safe and ensure that as few people as possible return to the streets.

Robert Jenrick said: “As we approach winter, we are focusing on the best way to protect rough sleepers from the cold weather and coronavirus.

“The funding and guidance I’m announcing today will mean that working with councils and community groups, some of the most vulnerable people in society are given support and a safe place to stay this winter.

“The government is spending over half a billion pounds to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping this year alone and working with our partners, some of the most vulnerable people in our society have been helped into accommodation or other support during the pandemic and we are accelerating plans for thousands of new homes.”

Kelly Tolhurst, Minister for Housing and Rough Sleeping said: “Winter is clearly a dangerous time for people who sleep rough.  These extra measures will help to protect this vulnerable group from life-threatening cold weather, as well as the risk of contracting COVID-19, and also provide them with support into move-on accommodation.

“The work councils, providers, and the NHS has done since the start of the pandemic has saved lives and through this extra funding we will continue help them to rebuild their lives, part of our commitment to end rough sleeping for good.”

Kathy Mohan from Housing Justice said: “Cold weather shelters in this country are predominantly staffed by volunteers and often operate on tiny budgets.  These are people motivated purely by the desire not to walk by on the other side of the street while someone is affected by homelessness in their community. During the first wave of the pandemic shelters reacted phenomenally, working around the clock until they were able to safely transfer guests to self-contained accommodation.

“We are pleased the Night Shelter Operating Principles are here and more than 150 organisations who provided night shelters in the last year have the facts they need to make tough decisions on their operations this winter.”

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, comments: “People should not be facing a choice between the cold streets or an unsafe night shelter. Traditional night shelters should only open as a last resort if self-contained accommodation is not a possibility.

“We welcome the operating principles published today, which will help make shelters open as safely as possible if they do become a necessity. We ask that local areas adhere to these principles in order that people sleeping rough can be supported safely in line with COVID-19 guidance.

“We welcome the new £2 million Transformation Fund, which we will be administering to provide funding to voluntary and community sector groups to transform spaces and make more self-contained emergency accommodation locations available. This funding will be essential to groups that usually operate on extremely tight budgets, enabling them to provide appropriate support for people sleeping rough over the winter.”

During the pandemic, the government has worked closely with local authorities and charitable organisations  to offer vulnerable people safe accommodation and support. This year, the government has committed half a billion pounds for rough sleeping and homelessness. Allocations for 3,300 additional homes this year for rough sleepers across the country will also be announced soon, giving people a place to call their own, and to rebuild their lives away from the streets, part of the government’s commitment to end rough sleeping once and for all.

Public Health England, Homeless Link, Housing Justice, councils and representatives from the shelter sector have been involved in developing the shelter operating principles, so that if shelters do reopen, they can do so as safely as possible, providing communal facilities only if there is no other alternative.

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Michael Bond

11:55 AM, 13th October 2020, About 3 years ago

Rough sleepers are the small tip of a huge iceberg of insufficient housing across the country. Th rest of the iceberg is made up of young people sofa-surfing, young families living in their parents' spare bedroom, etc. Could not some, perhaps 10%, of this half a billion pounds be allocated to unclogging the planning system so that the housing shortage may be reduced?

Mick Roberts

13:05 PM, 13th October 2020, About 3 years ago

Keep giving Councils permission to grant Selective Licensing Mr NonListen Jenrick & you will be paying plenty more of this out over the years.
Be nice if u actually read my letters before u reply to 'em & tell me what I already know that Licensing SHOULD be to improve houses.

Robert M

16:37 PM, 13th October 2020, About 3 years ago

Apart from building more housing, surely if you house a rough sleeper in self-contained accommodation (house/flat) then the person who would otherwise have lived there then becomes homeless? If housing quantity stays the same, then homelessness stays the same, it's just swapping one person for another!

This is the fallacy of the "Housing First" schemes, they do not solve any homelessness at all because no additional housing whatsoever is created/built/brought into use, it is simply putting high risk rough sleepers into housing while the displaced tenants become the newly homeless.

Simple maths:
Start out with 1 occupied flat, 1 tenant, 1 rough sleeper
Tenant becomes homeless, flat is filled with rough sleeper
1 flat filled with a former rough sleeper, plus one former tenant who is the new rough sleeper.
Just lots of public money paid out to Councils and Housing First operators to achieve this changeover, with no resultant reduction in homelessness.

Mick Roberts

16:54 PM, 13th October 2020, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 13/10/2020 - 16:37
Similar to what I've said all along Rob.
And the reason why so many rough sleepers & people can't get anywhere, is there is a knock on effect up the chain.
Woman with 3 kids can't get nice 3 bed now cause Landlord being super cautious, so she takes 2 bed. Family that was having that 2 bed now takes 1 bed flat for temporary. Man that was having flat now can't & he's now homeless. Well done Govt & Councils.

Annie Landlord

18:13 PM, 13th October 2020, About 3 years ago

How exactly are faith and community groups supposed to 'transform accommodation'? I doubt very much they will receive enough to eg. purchase an office block and repurpose it. Rob is right - unless more properties are built all the government is doing is moving the deckchairs around. One council - think its Portsmouth, has leased a student block for a year to be used for rough sleepers and others in unsatisfactory temporary homeless accommodation. All the rooms are ensuite so much better than a hotel room


0:28 AM, 14th October 2020, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Bond at 13/10/2020 - 11:55
No, too many people benefit from constrained supply ...

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