Government calls for all rough sleepers in England to be housed

Jessica Nangle

March 27, 2020

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has called for local authorities in England to house all people sleeping rough to be housed by the weekend to contain the spread of the coronavirus. 

In a letter sent to homelessness managers and rough sleeping coordinators in every local authority, the MHCLG explained that the country is in a “public health emergency”.

The government added that they are “all redoubling our efforts to do what we possibly can at this stage to ensure that everybody is inside and safe by this weekend, and we stand with you in this”.

Homeless charity Crisis called the move a “landmark moment”.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “The government’s insistence that everyone sleeping rough should be housed by the weekend is a landmark moment – and the right thing to do.

“Questions remain about how local councils will be supported to do this, and whether additional funding, or assistance securing hotel rooms, will be made available.

“We also need to see a package of support so that, when the outbreak subsides, the outcome is not that people return to the streets.

“The government has committed to ending rough sleeping by 2025 – this proves it can be done in 2020 if we make it the priority it deserves to be.”

Rob Jupp, group chief executive at Brightstar, added: “In the midst of this difficult period, there are positive initiatives which remind you about what is important and this is certainly one of those initiatives.

“We can only hope that, as we emerge from this crisis, we maintain a focus on helping those less fortunate than ourselves, including the country’s many thousands of rough sleepers.”

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