Money has been made available to help councils provide more self-contained accommodation for use over the coming months
St Mungo’s has welcomed the announcement of £12m to help protect people rough sleeping or at risk over homelessness this winter made by the Government today (13 October).
The package, unveiled by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, includes:
- A new ‘Cold Weather Fund’ of £10 million to support councils to provide more self-contained accommodation to help people sleeping rough off the streets during winter
- An additional £2 million for faith and community groups to help them provide secure accommodation for people sleeping rough
- Guidance to the sector, produced with Public Health England, Homeless Link and Housing Justice to help shelters open more safely, where not doing so would endanger lives.
Reacting to the news, St Mungo’s Chief Executive Steve Douglas CBE said: “Our view is that this is good news.
“We welcome the recognition by Government that the positive collaboration with local government and homelessness providers to find solutions, demonstrated by the ‘Everyone In’ initiative, should be part of the future long-term strategy to end homelessness.
“This specific funding will help ensure that providers can deliver an immediate response to the winter accommodation and support challenges for people sleeping rough, and that that response can be provided in a Covid-19 safe way.
“The recently announced Next Steps Accommodation Programme – elements of which will run for the next four years – will also provide much needed medium and longer term accommodation and support,” said Mr Douglas.
The Public Health guidance, which was released in conjunction with the funding announcement, provides the operating principles for commissioners and providers of night shelters for people who rough sleep.
The aim of the document – which places the responsibility for risk assessing accommodation options on local providers – is to provide guidance so that if shelters do reopen they can do so safely, providing communal facilities only if there is no other alternative.