Today (8 October), 18 charities, public health bodies and homelessness organisations including St Mungo’s have written to the Prime Minister warning that without urgent Government action to protect people forced to sleep rough this winter, lives will be put at risk by the double threat of coronavirus and cold weather.
Commenting on the letter to Boris Johnson MP, Steve Douglas CBE, Chief Executive, St Mungo’s said: “‘We know, that despite the tremendous ‘Everyone In’ effort, rough sleeping is rising again.
“And, although the next steps accommodation will provide longer term accommodation and support funding, we are concerned there is not enough self-contained emergency accommodation currently in place for everyone who will need it over the course of this winter.
“Many of our services have previously relied on communal sleeping arrangements, including No Second Night Out and Somewhere Safe to Stay services.
“We are working with our partners locally to find solutions to enable us to deliver these services over the winter and to put in place sufficient self-contained emergency accommodation for everyone sleeping rough, or at risk of doing so, just as we did under the ‘Everyone In’ initiative.
“And while we await the Government’s public health guidance, we do not see communal night shelters, relying on shared sleeping areas as the right option, because we are not confident that we can guarantee such accommodation can be made Covid-19 safe.”