Extra funding to support rough sleepers in the North East

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The Government has pledged an initial £3.2million of emergency funding to support rough sleepers if they need to self-isolate to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The funding will be available to all councils in England and will reimburse them for the cost of providing accommodation and services to those sleeping on the streets.

Announced on Tuesday, the Government suggested that this initial emergency response funding will ensure swift support is offered to people who are unable to self-isolate, such as those staying in night shelters or assessment hubs, as well as those currently sleeping rough.

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Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Public safety and protecting the most vulnerable people in society from coronavirus is this Government’s top priority.

There is concern for rough sleepers during the coronavirus pandemicThere is concern for rough sleepers during the coronavirus pandemic
There is concern for rough sleepers during the coronavirus pandemic

“I would urge anyone who is concerned about someone sleeping rough to use the Government’s StreetLink app to alert local support services who can reach out to those in need at this difficult time.”

The Government also said it would continue to work closely with local authorities to keep this under review and ensure people have access to the support they need.

Coun Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, added: “We are pleased that the Government has announced that councils will receive emergency funding to support rough sleepers to self-isolate, as part of a wider package of support, and we look forward to working with the Government on the detail to ensure councils costs are fully covered.

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“Public health, housing and social-care teams will continue to work together to identify local solutions for rough sleepers most at risk, but homelessness services remain under huge pressure as a result of rising demand driven by a historic shortage of social housing.”

Public Health England (PHE) has also released guidance for providers of hostels and day centres on how to handle suspected cases of coronavirus.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, PHE medical director, said: “People sleeping rough are often in poor health and are particularly vulnerable. That’s why this funding is so important, ensuring that rough sleepers who get symptoms have somewhere safe and protective to stay, and helping to prevent the spread of the infection.”