18 March 2020

The £3.2m funding will be available to all local authorities in England and will reimburse them for the cost of providing accommodation and services to rough sleepers who need to self-isolate.

The government said that the emergency funding represents an initial first step to help local authorities and frontline services put emergency measures in place and that it will continue to work with councils to ensure people have access to the support they need.

Last week, Inside Housing reported that London’s largest network of winter night shelters was being forced to turn away individuals who they suspected of having the virus, with no guidance as to where rough sleepers could go next to safely self-isolate. 

Public Health England (PHE) has since published guidance for providers of hostels and day services for homeless people, outlining what they should do if they have a confirmed case of the virus.

During last week’s Budget, the government announced the creation of the COVID-19 Response Fund, initially set at £5bn, as well as a new £500m Hardship Fund for local authorities to support economically vulnerable people and households.

Yesterday chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined futher measures to support businesses totalling more than £300bn.

Mr Jenrick said: “Public safety and protecting the most vulnerable people in society from coronavirus is this government’s top priority.

“We are working closely with councils and charities to ensure they have the support they need throughout this period.

“The initial funding that I’ve announced today will ensure councils are able to put emergency measures in place to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society to successfully self-isolate.

“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.”

Source: Inside Housing