Government announced additional £10m support for rough sleepers
Extra support to help protect rough sleepers and renters from the effects of COVID-19 has been announced by the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick today (8 January 2021).
Backed by an additional £10 million in funding, all councils in England are being asked to redouble their efforts to help accommodate all those currently sleeping rough and ensure they are swiftly registered with a GP, where they are not already.
This will ensure they can be protected from the virus and contacted to receive vaccinations in line with the priority groups outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
Councils will also be asked to reach out again to those who have previously refused help, given rising infection rates and the colder winter months.
Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
"At the start of this pandemic we made sure that the most vulnerable in society were protected. This winter, we are continuing in this vein and redoubling our efforts to help those most in need." Councils will work closely with local health partners to ensure those sleeping rough are able to access the COVID-19 vaccine in line with the priority groups outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
This will be done through a GP, or by other means if mainstream provision is unsuitable, ensuring that the wider health needs of rough sleepers are addressed and assessed for clinical vulnerability to COVID, supporting them now and for the future.
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said:
"These renewed efforts to protect people who are homeless in the pandemic will save lives. It was truly a landmark moment when, back in March, everyone on the streets was offered somewhere safe to stay. It’s as important, if not more so, that today we see government leadership to protect all those sleeping rough. The highly infectious new strain of coronavirus alongside the cold weather makes this the most dangerous moment of the pandemic for those without a home.
What is very welcome here is the two-pronged approach – a continued commitment to getting everyone into safe accommodation but also now making sure people are registered with a GP so they can quickly access the vaccines. We know through our services that people facing homelessness often are not registered with a doctor’s surgery. Addressing this issue will be a lifesaving intervention and a step towards ensuring people who are homeless are protected in the longer-term." The government has also provided unprecedented support for rough sleepers during the pandemic. This £10 million investment builds on more than £700 million government spending on homelessness and rough sleeping this year alone.
Through Everyone In, by November we had supported around 33,000 people with nearly 10,000 in emergency accommodation and over 23,000 already moved on into longer-term accommodation.
Read the full announcement here.