St Mungo’s has welcomed the publication of the National Audit Office’s investigation into the housing of people sleeping rough during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The NAO’s report, published today (14 January), analyses the action the Government took to protect people who were sleeping rough from March to November last year.
It praises the ‘Everyone In’ scheme and hails it as “considerable achievement”, but also highlights several areas of concern including:
- The disparity between the actual number of people sleeping rough and the official statistics which are based on a single night snapshot
- The difficulties local authorities face in helping people with no recourse to public funds to resolve their homelessness
- The need for the support being offered during this current resurgence of the virus to be closely monitored as it is less comprehensive than that offered during the first lockdown, and
- The need for the review of the Government’s rough sleeping strategy to be recommenced.
Petra Salva, St Mungo’s Director of Rough Sleeping, who was interviewed as part of the report research, said: “This is an important assessment of the Government’s response to helping support people off the streets during the first few months of the pandemic and we welcome its detailed analysis.
“It very much reflects our experience as front-line service providers. The ‘Everyone In’ scheme made huge progress in helping people sleeping rough, or at risk of doing so, into accommodation which provided them with protection from the virus and from the other risks associated with being street homeless.
“These achievements must be built on, and the momentum continued, as this is not a static issue. People are still coming to the streets and they continue to need and deserve immediate protection and long-term support as the virus continues to sweep through our communities.
“We also welcome the call for the review of the Rough Sleeping Strategy to be reinvigorated and we, along with our colleagues in the homelessness sector, are ready and willing to assist in whatever way we can to work towards achieving our shared aim of ending rough sleeping.”