The Government’s refusal to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers during this lockdown is cruel and irresponsible. Rough sleepers are among the most exposed in our society and, without a repeat of the ‘Everyone In’ scheme, this lack of action will cost lives.
During the last national lockdown, ‘Everyone In’ allocated funds to local authorities and charities to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers. Here in Norwich, Pathways and Norwich City Council successfully provided such accommodation for 120 rough sleepers. 104 of these individuals have since gone on to more settled accommodation. Central government need to put up the funding and support to make sure this can happen again; as hard as they’re trying, it’s not possible for councils to continually do more with less.
The fact we have such an issue with homelessness and rough sleeping at all is a sad indictment of life under the Tories. The number of people sleeping rough has doubled since 2010. This is a result of a lack of investment in affordable housing, soaring rents in the private rented sector and a broken social security system. Our immediate priority must be getting everyone safely through this pandemic, but I will continue to campaign to make rough sleeping a thing of the past until it is just that.