Man Who Handed Out A Fortune To The Homeless Is Told To Pay It Back

A window cleaner who converted his late brother’s fortune into gold coins to give to the homeless has been ordered to pay the money back to his family.

Peter Ivory, 58, said it was brother Michael’s dying wish for him to give his estate, worth £414,000, away and argued that he had done the morally right thing after his sibling died without a will, reports the Metro. He said Michael did not have a good relationship with his family and wanted it to go to the ‘hard-working poor and homeless’.

After expenses, Peter was left with £367,000 which he distributed to people on the streets of Cambridge, the Isle of Wight and in Scotland. However, the High Court has ruled that Ivory, from Hendon, northwest London, did not have the right to do this and should have split the cash with their other relatives. He now faces a £250,000 bill after a judge said he committed a ‘monumental breach’ of his duty as administrator of Mick’s estate. Mr Ivory, will now have to hand over about £100,000 to his brother Alan, £95,000 to another brother John and £50,000 to his nephew, Michael.

Judge Timothy Bowles said: “You may think you took a moral position but what you have actually done is deprive other people of money that is actually theirs, and that is not a moral position.” The court heard that Mick, 61, died without making a will and that Peter handled his affairs, including the sale of his home in Wallington, Surrey. His estate consisted of the proceeds of sale of the house, his Lurcher dog Lady and a collection of rare Osmond Family memorabilia, accumulated by his wife, Pat, who died four years before him. Under intestacy laws, which apply when someone dies without making a will, Alan, John and Michael expected to share the money with Peter as Mick’s surviving next of kin.

But Peter told the court he had been holding his brother’s hand as he lay dying in hospital and that Mick “made him promise” that his money should go to him or the poor – not the family. He said: “Mick told me to keep it all and, if I couldn’t keep it, to give it away. His whole plan was to make sure they didn’t get it.” He said he took in the dog, gave the memorabilia to the Osmond’s fan club, handed out a few small gifts to others, and then converted most of the rest of the money.

Brothers Alan, John and nephew Michael subsequently put forward a claim for their share of the estate after a family row broke out. In court, Peter accepted that what he did was against the law, but insisted he considered the rest of the family were “entitled to nothing” morally. He said: “Mick worked his whole life, 40 years on the underground, for that money. I couldn’t give them his money. They didn’t sit holding his hand as he was dying. They didn’t hear what he said to me. He told me what he wanted to do. I thought my responsibility was to follow my dying brother’s wishes. I made a mistake, but I didn’t make a mistake as far as my brother is concerned.”

As well being ordered to hand over £245,000 to the other family members, the judge ordered Peter to pay their lawyers’ bills for the case, worth about £10,000. “You knew that they had legal entitlements, but you decided that, because your brother had expressed certain wishes, you weren’t going to comply with the law,” said the judge. “Legally speaking, it was completely wrong from beginning to end,” he added. “None of this would be happening were it not for that election that he made.”

No Return To Homelessness Say Charities

Forty charities are urging Boris Johnson to end the “patchy” help for homeless people during the coronavirus pandemic by passing an emergency law.

Crisis, St Mungo’s and the Big Issue Foundation are among the groups who have drawn up a bill they say would truly deliver on the government’s “everyone in” campaign to accommodate all rough sleepers in England, reports Sky News. They have criticised the “piecemeal, disjointed approach” taken by councils across the country and are worried about communal shelters remaining closed as winter and the threat of a second spike in covid-19 cases loom.

Bob Blackman, an influential Tory MP who pioneered the 2017 Homelessness Reduction Act from the backbenches is backing the call for a statutory duty to be put on local authorities to help any homeless person who needs it. Mr. Blackman is supporting the case of rough sleepers like Paul Jenkins, who – despite being given temporary accommodation in a hotel in Oxford – said the uncertainty about how long support may continue is causing him “uncertainty, anxiety and sleepless nights”.

Several tranches of funding have been offered to local authorities to foot the bills, but as lockdown restrictions are eased, charities are worried some people will just be left to return to the streets. The group of national and community organisations, which also include the Refugee Council and Law Centres Network, want Mr Johnson to introduce four changes to take immediate effect for a year:

  • Make it a legal obligation for councils to provide everyone with nowhere safe to stay access to emergency accommodation backed by funding
  • Suspend the “no recourse to public funds” restrictions so those locked out of applying for state aid can access benefits
  • Stop residents being able to be evicted if they cannot pay rent due to the pandemic
  • Suspend the benefit cap to prevent people becoming homeless if they cannot return to work.

Mr Blackman, who said the “everyone in” project has been a “marvellous achievement” but is fighting to make supporting the whole homeless population “a permanent position”. He told Sky News a “large number of Conservative MPs” want to make sure rough sleepers aren’t left behind before parliament breaks up for summer on 22 July. “We need legislation urgently before we reach that recess because otherwise people potentially could be turned out onto the streets again while parliament is not sitting,” he said. “That’s completely unacceptable and something we need to overcome.”

Given how swiftly the government got its planning bill through the Commons, he added there’s “absolutely no reason why this legislation could not be dealt with – all stages in one day, because I’m sure we’d get cross-party support”.

If it is not, “we’ll get a patchwork quilt, literally a postcode lottery of what action’s taken by different local authorities”, he warned.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, also told Sky News: “Every day people are hit by the economic impact of coronavirus and, therefore, every day we don’t have this emergency legislation there’s the potential for more people to become homeless or end up rough sleeping… “It’s a very, very crowded political agenda – this government has many, many things on its plate as a consequence of coronavirus. But I think most people would agree that stopping people ending up in the very dangerous situation of rough sleeping is a very important thing to tackle.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said they were on track to help end rough sleeping permanently. They told Sky News: “Our rough sleeping taskforce has one overriding objective – to ensure as many people as possible who have been brought in off the streets in this pandemic do not return to sleeping rough. That’s why we’ve ensured councils across England can support vulnerable rough sleepers from EEA [European Economic Area] countries.”

“Councils are also able to provide emergency accommodation for foreign nationals where they are in the UK lawfully. The £105m, announced last week will mean councils are able to continue to provide safe accommodation to vulnerable rough sleepers, help break the cycle of homelessness, and continue our work to end rough sleeping for good.”

Pizzas For The Homeless Of Birkenhead

The manager of a local Papa John’s branch helped to feed homeless people in Merseyside with a kind-hearted gesture.

Staff at Wirral’s Homeless CIC would like to thank Mike, who works at Papa John’s in Liscard, after he gave them 50% off all food for the homeless at their night shelter on Wednesday, reports the Liverpool Echo. The CIC have continued to work throughout the coronavirus crisis with volunteer cooks and drivers preparing food at home each day and delivering it to where it is needed. This includes a takeaway night, which falls on the 15th of every month, and sees volunteers deliver takeout food to homeless people at the YMCA night shelter in Birkenhead.

Posting on their Facebook page on Wednesday, director of the CIC, Graham Wilson, said: “If anybody knows Mike (Manager at Papa John’s Liscard) please share to thank his generosity tonight. He gave us preferential staff discount on all the food for our homeless at the night shelter. Top bloke!!”

Speaking to the Echo, Graham said: “We’ve got around 8-10 people coming to us at the moment. That’s quite a low number because with the Covid a lot of them have been taken off the streets – we see that as a positive thing. Although we love what we do we’d rather we didn’t have to do it at all. We can have between 20-30 people normally.”

“The volunteers are amazing. They supply fresh home cooked food everyday. That meal can sometimes be the first thing our homeless have had that day, they look forward to it.”

Graham added: “On the 15th of the month we run a takeaway night so last night we went to Papa Johns. We went into the Liscard store and a lovely guy called Mike, the manager, said I’ll give you staff discount which was 50% off.

“I was very appreciative and I said to him we’ll come back to you on the 15th of every month.”

In response to the post, people praised manager Mike for the thoughtful gesture. While Papa John’s replied: “This makes us really happy to see. We’re so pleased to see how helpful Mike was! Thank you so much for sharing.”

Funding Announced For Continued Support Of The Homeless

Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has launched the Next Steps Accommodation Programme, a £266 million fund to enable local areas to continue to provide somewhere safe to stay for 15,000 people currently experiencing homelessness.

The launch has been keenly anticipated since the announcements on 24 May and 24 June of the Government’s intention to fund interim accommodation as well as 3,300 new supported homes in the next year, reports Homeless Link. The fund is open for applications from local authorities, with support from local partners, to cover property costs and support new tenancies for people who were given emergency accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As per previous announcements, the £266 million fund is divided into two strands. A total of £105 million is available to rapidly provide interim accommodation and support and can be used to help people move into the private rented sector, extend or secure alternative interim accommodation or where possible help people to reconnect with friends or family.  This strand of funding is for use during 2020/21 only.

The remaining £161 million represents the first wave of the move-on accommodation funding, and aims to provide 3,300 additional supported homes this year for those currently housed in emergency accommodation. This consists of £130m capital and £31m revenue funding. This is the first part of a total of £433 million committed to provide 6,000 long-term homes with support over the next four years.

Homeless Link will continue to work alongside MHCLG and we will be supporting all of our members with their role in bringing everyone in for good.

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 20 August at 11:59pm.

Guidance on how to bid for funding can be downloaded here.

Private Landlords Hand Out Eviction Notices Despite Ban

Renters are being served eviction notices despite the government’s promise to protect people from a wave of homelessness resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Evictions have been banned since the start of lockdown, however landlords have continued to serve Section 21 notices throughout this period, reports HuffPost UK. The notices allow landlords to evict tenants without giving any reason – a so-called “no-fault eviction”. The government has confirmed the ban on evictions will end on August 23.

Last week it published new civil procedure rules for eviction proceedings, which will require landlords to submit a “reactivation notice” setting out a tenant’s circumstances, including whether the lockdown has impacted their ability to pay rent, or whether the tenant is vulnerable. But, as it stands, any private tenants in more than eight weeks of rent arrears will still be at the mercy of automatic evictions using Ground 8 of Section 8 of the Housing Act.

Housing experts are calling on the government to change this rule, arguing that as long as it stands the new regulations do not compel landlords to do anything at all, as judges will have no legal means to protect renters from Section 21 evictions or Section 8 evictions. Although government guidance has urged landlords to ‘show compassion’, many private tenants who are struggling financially as a direct result of coronavirus are now facing eviction and possible homelessness.

One such example is small business owner Daniela and her musician partner James, of Liverpool. The couple have struggled financially during lockdown, as James’s freelance work has completely dried up with the closure of venues and cancellation of festivals. With their incomes slashed by half, Daniela and James wrote to their letting agency in early March, saying they could not pay their rent in full and hoping they could receive an agreement. Instead, they received some “completely inappropriate” “load of generic nonsense suggesting how to budget our money” and were told to contact their water, gas and electricity companies to ask for a “payment suspension”.

After racking up four months of rent arrears and receiving emails that made them feel “incredibly humiliated”, a letter arrived with a Section 21 notice attached. The couple are now facing “further debt and potential homelessness”, while Daniela’s anxiety has affected her ability to work. They also discovered their landlord has benefited from a mortgage holiday – while at the same time ignoring their pleas for leniency.

“We’re at a point where we have to choose if we’d like to pay rent or risk not being able to buy groceries,” Daniela told HuffPost UK: “I just don’t earn enough on my own to sustain both of us and pay all of our bills. This has obviously affected us mentally.”

Boris Johnson previously pledged to scrap Section 21 as part of last year’s election manifesto, but has so far failed to do so. Last week Labour warned the country faced a “homelessness emergency” unless new legislation was introduced to prevent a wave of evictions. Thangam Debbonaire, shadow housing secretary, said the government’s mortgage relief policies have “helped property developers, second home-owners and landlords make money from housing. But they are doing nothing to help thousands in rented accommodation, who may find themselves without anywhere to live later this year,” she said.

On Wednesday the housing minister suggested court action to evict tenants could be postponed if a landlord cannot demonstrate “good cause”. Speaking to MPs, Christopher Pincher said measures would be introduced to make it “very difficult” for landlords to bring applications to court in order to “support hard-pressed renters”.

Debbonaire said Johnson had “let down renters”. “Choices and delays by this government mean hundreds of thousands of people risk losing their homes in the middle of a global pandemic,” she told HuffPost UK. “The Tories promised to end unfair ‘no fault’ evictions, but needlessly delayed it until after the expected wave of evictions when the ban is lifted in August. We were promised that ‘no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home’. The Tories have let down renters, and failed all of us who want to avoid a rise in homelessness in our communities this autumn.”

Calls For Scaling Up Of Housing First

A group of 12 organisations representing social landlords, local authorities and the wider homelessness sector are calling on Government and social housing providers to help make this happen.

With major new investment in move-on housing and support on the horizon, now is the time to follow through on commitments and make Housing First available to those who need it, writes Jennie Corbett for Homeless Link.

The need for more investment in Housing First is widely accepted. This is reflected in clear Government commitments to Housing First before the pandemic, and the increasing appetite amongst local authorities, social landlords and the wider homelessness sector to make scaled-up Housing First a reality.

A group of leading homelessness stakeholders representing social landlords, local authorities and homelessness services in England have come together to highlight this widespread support for scaling up Housing First and what we need from Government to help make that happen. The group, including Homeless Link, Crisis, the National Housing Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing, the National Federation of ALMOs and Homes for Cathy, as well as housing associations A2Dominion, Two Saints, L&Q, the South Yorkshire Housing Association, Camden Council and the Smith Institute (hosts of the Affordable Housing Commission), want to ensure that Housing First has its place in post-lockdown planning to end rough sleeping in England.

Research commissioned by Crisis and Homeless Link suggests that 16,500 people in England facing multiple disadvantage need a Housing First approach to end their homelessness. However, significantly fewer are currently receiving it. The Government’s recent pledge to invest in 6,000 supported move-on units offers a promising opportunity, and expanding Housing First provision should be key to this. The statement demands a long-term, cross-departmental investment in support and housing to deliver high-fidelity Housing First and offers our support to Government to do so.

Our statement calls on the Government to:

  1. Commit long-term funding for the support services needed to enable 16,500 Housing First tenancies over the current Government term.

Government should drive the Housing First agenda by providing a long-term commitment to fund support for those receiving a Housing First offer, along with a broader commitment to funding floating support for those who are at risk of homelessness already living in tenancies.

In recognition of the crucial role played by non-homelessness providers in delivering Housing First, commitments should be cross-departmental in order to facilitate effective multi-agency collaboration at the local level.

  1. Ensure there is a supply of suitable homes to meet the scale of need for Housing First and wider housing-led provision to tackle homelessness.

This should include funding commitments to rapidly increase the supply of housing available to people moving on from homelessness, including exploring options for tenure conversion and market acquisition to boost the supply of one bed social rent homes. Access to the private rented sector should be improved by making additional funding available to local authorities, implementing a national rent deposit guaranteed scheme and making essential reforms to the welfare system.

Social housing providers also have a role to play. We call on all social housing providers to support the expansion of Housing First by:

  1. Working with commissioners through housing and homelessness partnerships to understand the scale of need locally and agree an allocation of tenancies for commissioned Housing First services.
  2. Making the case for a long-term funding framework for sustainable support provision.
  3. Working jointly between Local Authorities and Housing Associations to increase flexibility in allocations practices outside of usual procedures and using a person-centred approach.
  4. Adopting and sharing learning and positive practice on the delivery of homes for high fidelity Housing First.

To find out more, go to: https://www.homeless.org.uk/connect/blogs/2020/jul/15/social-landlords-join-sector-call-for-scale-up-of-housing-first-in-england

The Duke of Cambridge Says Now Is The Chance To “Crack Homelessness”

During a visit to The Light Project in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, he said because of the coronavirus pandemic it is the time to “do something properly”, reports the BBC news. The drop-in-centre has helped to house more than 150 people in four hotels during lockdown. One of them, Robert Smale, 55, who had been living in a tent for six years, said: “I’ve got no intention of going back on the streets again.”

During lockdown, councils in England have been given £3.2m from the government as part of an emergency scheme called Everyone In, to house them, aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.

While talking to rough sleepers, the prince said: “This pandemic has been truly horrendous for everyone – I’m really hoping that the slivers of positivity and the slivers of goodness that might come out of this is in the homelessness side of things. You’ll never have a better chance nationally to crack homelessness and do something properly.”

Prince William said he had heard New York was buying up hotels to use as permanent accommodation for rough sleepers, as they expected demand from tourists to be flat for some time. “So there’s opportunities here, there really is, to do this and we’ve just got to be a bit brave and a bit bold to get it done.”

Gary Griffiths, 55, a lead roofer, who worked on restoring Windsor Castle after the 1992 fire said it had been a “nightmare” living in his truck for six weeks before lockdown. He has now been rehoused. Mr Smale, who is hoping for a more permanent home, said: “[If] I’ve got this chance to better my life – then I’ll take your arm off, I’ll take it with both hands and snatch.”

Council Plans To Seize Empty Properties

Fill vacant rental units with tenants or we will take over your properties, the city of Barcelona is warning landlords.

Barcelona is deploying a new weapon in its quest to increase the city’s available rental housing: the power to force the sale of empty properties.

This week, the city’s housing department wrote to 14 companies that collectively own 194 empty apartments, warning that if they haven’t found a tenant within the next month, the city could take possession of these properties, with compensation at half their market value. These units would then be rented out by the city as public housing to lower-income tenants, while the companies in question could also face possible fines of between €90,000 and €900,000 ($103,000 and $1,003,000), according to Spanish news outlets.

The plan builds on previous measures in the city to fill empty apartments. Since 2016, it has been legal for municipalities in the Catalonia region, which includes Barcelona, to take control of properties that have been left without tenants for more than two years. The cities can then rent them as affordable housing for a period of between four and ten years before returning them to their owner’s control.

This measure, however, has only ever been used in a few cases, and still requires the city to return the properties. Now, using a legal tool approved by the Catalonia region in December 2019, Barcelona will have expanded power to actually buy the apartments outright by compulsory purchase, at 50% of market rate.

Barcelona has been struggling with empty homes for some years now. As Spain’s property market tended towards stagnation after the financial crisis of 2007 to 2008, some companies that own multiple properties are allowing their units to sit empty while waiting for the market to revive. With many units held after repossessions by banks — including Spain’s national “bad bank” SAREB, which owns 149 empty properties in Barcelona — there has been a tendency for companies to neglect their portfolios, thinking of them primarily as assets to be managed rather than an essential public resource. This has led to high rates of vacancies and neglected properties in some areas of the city, places where drug dealers and users trade and consume narcotics — have taken over homes left empty.

The city has been developing tools to counter this for a while. Beyond the small number of expropriations, the municipality has also levied high fines for vacant units, while some empty vacation rentals have also been used as emergency housing during the pandemic. This month’s new push is both carefully targeted and wider than previous efforts. All properties up for potential expropriation belong to owners with multiple units. For the properties to be eligible for forced purchase, they must have no tenant contract for two years and no record of recent power or utilities use, meaning that occasionally-used second homes do not appear on the list.

But, according to the city housing commissioner Lucia Martín, the intention of the effort is to pressure landlords into renting their own units, not actual forced purchases en masse. “We are not here to expropriate. What we want is for apartments to be rented,” she told newspaper 20 Minutos. Martín has also warned that “if the answer is no, we will open the file and they will go to expand the city’s public housing sector.”

In some cases, taking possession of vacant units may not be an adversarial process. In signs of a new mood in the neighbouring municipality of Badalona to the northeast of Barcelona, SAREB voluntarily handed over rights to rent out 256 currently squatted apartments they own to the city this week, so that the authorities can suppress their use for drug trade and rent them to applicants for public housing.

In Barcelona, another 232 empty homes have been identified as the next targets for the program. Meanwhile, the city is seeking to persuade Catalonia’s regional authority to make the program even more expansive, by allowing forced sale of properties after just six months of vacancy, rather than two years.

Funding For COVID-19 Relief

Homelessness organisations affected directly by COVID-19 can now apply for funding of £5.5million in a second round of grants distributed by Homeless Link.

Of this funding pot, £4.82 million is provided by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, for homelessness charities in England. A further £680,000 is from Comic Relief, which raises money to support people living incredibly tough lives, and will primarily be allocated to charities based in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The funding aims to provide emergency financial assistance to local homelessness organisations, preventing closure, service cuts or staff redundancies threatened by increased operational costs and a loss of fundraised income due to the Coronavirus. It will also support organisations that have needed to expand or adapt their services in light of COVID-19 to support people experiencing homelessness safely and effectively.

Homeless Link is pleased to be able to provide this critical support to frontline services at this difficult time. They will fund frontline organisations – both members and non-members – where more than half of beneficiaries are people experiencing homelessness. Applicants must have an annual turnover of less than £5 million. They will not fund organisations who received funding in round one.

They strongly advise applicants to read and follow the application guidance and frequently asked questions available when applying to the Fund. Applications will be assessed, and decisions made, by an independent grants panel.

Key dates

  • The grant application window will open on 13 July 2020.
  • The deadline for the Comic Relief funding stream is 3 August 2020, with decisions made during August.
  • There are two deadlines for the National Lottery Community Fund funding stream:
    • 3 August 2020; decisions made in early September, funds distributed by the end of September.
    • 14 September 2020; decisions made in mid-October, funds distributed by the end of November.
  • Awards must be spent within six months of receipt of funds or by 19 April 2021.

Homeless Link are expecting there will be high demand for this funding. They anticipate only being able to support a proportion of applications and having to make difficult decisions.

We advise you to consider all relevant funds that can be applied to at this time and choose the most appropriate one. For more information about COVID-19 response funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, search Homeless Link funding.

16 Homeless People Have Died With Coronavirus

Charities have called on the Government to take people off the streets as it was revealed how many rough sleepers who have died in the pandemic so far.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released data which showed 16 people identified as homeless had died with coronavirus in England and Wales, reports the Metro. The data added deaths of unidentified homeless people with the disease had not been included, and suggested the figure may be an underestimate of the true number. Charities have stressed concern over these figures.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The death of every homeless person from Covid-19 is a tragedy. We know that street homeless people, even at a young age, are more likely to have underlying health conditions. This, along with things like a lack of good nourishment and sleep, can weaken their immune systems. They are among our most vulnerable citizens.”

“Nobody should be at risk of catching Covid-19 on the street, where it’s hard to follow even basic public health guidance such as regularly washing hands. Whilst this dangerous virus is still in circulation, the government must make it clear to all councils that they must accommodate anybody facing the streets as the pandemic continues. And as we start to consider what a post-Covid society will look like one thing is for sure: we must end homelessness for good.”

All 16 deaths were recorded in England and none in Wales. The statistics included figures up to June 26. The majority of the victims were men and the average age of death for men was 58 years. London and the northwest were the regions with the highest numbers of identified deaths involving Covid-19.

ONS analysis says a reasonable estimate of identified homeless deaths from all causes in a calendar quarter would be around 135, based on the latest statistics from 2018. It also suggests the 16 deaths involving Covid-19 of people who were homeless are similar in scale to the quarterly averages over the five-year period from 2014 to 2018 of homeless deaths from alcohol-specific causes or suicide.

Homeless housing charity St Mungo’s urged the ONS to further explore the other causes of deaths on the streets. Beatrice Orchard, head of policy, campaigns and research at St Mungo’s, said: “Yesterday’s statistics show that 16 homeless people in England and Wales have tragically died after contracting coronavirus. Our sympathies are with those people’s family and friends.”

“We know homeless people die, on average, 30 years younger than someone who is not homeless. St Mungo’s staff, alongside other charities and local authorities, are making a tremendous effort to prevent more deaths and ensure people are supported with their physical and mental health at this time. We would also urge the ONS to look, as quickly as possible, at the other causes of death among homeless people during the ongoing health crisis.

The statistics come after the Government announced an extra £105 million of funding at the end of June to provide interim housing for rough sleepers. This is on top of a £3.2 million emergency support package for the homeless implemented at the start of the pandemic. Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “In recent months, I have seen a huge effort across the country to keep almost 15,000 vulnerable people off the streets. This has been vital to ensure their safety during the peak of the pandemic and has changed the lives of thousands for the better.”

“The additional funding announced today will allow us to continue to support these individuals – giving them access to the accommodation and support they need now while we continue with plans to deliver thousands of long-term homes in the coming months. Together, this takes the funding provided by government for vulnerable rough sleepers and those at risk of becoming homeless to over half a billion this year – an unprecedented commitment as we move towards ending rough sleeping for good.”

But on Monday a group of 40 homeless and migrant organisations wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for the Government to urgently introduce emergency homelessness legislation to protect people facing homelessness during the pandemic. It said: “Last week’s announcement of an additional £105 million of funding will certainly help councils continue to provide temporary accommodation to people experiencing homelessness. However, as a sector, we are concerned that money alone won’t provide a guarantee of safe and secure accommodation for everyone who needs it.: “Despite councils’ best efforts, the support in place to get people into accommodation has been patchy and inconsistent because of the current legal barriers. As we move forward, this risks a piecemeal, disjointed approach that particularly disadvantages people who are often locked out of support, including those with no recourse to public funds due to their immigration status.”

“This situation is made all the more urgent by the fact communal shelters will not be able to re-open safely while coronavirus still poses a risk, and as the winter approaches there must continue to be a safe route off the street for everyone. We are proposing, as one solution, emergency homelessness legislation to be put in place to guarantee everyone experiencing homelessness has the security of a safe and settled home throughout the pandemic. This will ensure that when we say “everyone in”, we truly mean everyone, and deliver on the Government’s commitment to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament.”