The Government is giving an extra £10 million to councils to find accommodation for rough sleepers throughout the lockdown period and ensure they are registered with a GP.
The Government has said this will ensure more people can be protected from the Covid-19 virus and receive vaccinations in line with the Government’s priority groups.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said:
“Our ongoing ‘Everyone In’ initiative is widely regarded as one of the most successful of its kind in the world, ensuring 33,000 people are safe in accommodation. We are now going further and focusing on GP registration of rough sleepers.”
The £10m is being used to accommodate those living on the streets this winter but also to assist a drive in getting the homeless population registered with a GP.
During the first lockdown from March last year, the Government launched its ‘Everyone In’ programme aimed at securing accommodation for all rough sleepers during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 33,000 people were supported, with nearly 10,000 people moved into emergency accommodation and 23,000 moved into longer-term accommodation.
“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 life-saving intervention and a step towards ensuring people who are homeless are protected in the longer term.”
Steve Douglas, Chief Executive of homelessness charity St Mungo’s, said:
“We and other homelessness charities called on Government to provide an urgent and decisive response to support those sleeping rough who now face the double threat of severely cold weather and a continued health emergency.”
By Patrick Mooney, Editor