On 2 November, Homeless Link called on the Government to deliver Everyone In 2.0 as we entered the winter lockdown. In the following days, the Government announced the Protect Programme, providing a £15 million top-up to areas with the highest rough sleeping numbers.
However, Homeless Link says the ‘Protect Programme’ does not go far enough and their new briefing sets out why we still need a second Everyone In scheme, backed by funding, in order to protect the health and safety of people experiencing homelessness. It also presents findings from their membership surveys, collected over recent weeks and months, which demonstrate why this is so crucial to the health of the homelessness sector and the people we support.
They celebrate the great strides taken to protect people experiencing homelessness during and since the first COVID-19 lockdown and the funding already offered by Government that made this possible. However, they say they have heard the message from their members loud and clear: current funding levels are not enough for local areas to provide everyone who needs it with a safe place to stay. In addition, local authorities need clear leadership and direction from Government to enable them to support everyone, regardless of their immigration status or priority need, this winter.
As we move out of lockdown, it will again be vital that a transition plan is in place. The Government must take urgent steps to continue to support move-on from emergency accommodation and prevent even more people being forced into homelessness during the ongoing pandemic.
Jackie Bliss, CEO of HARP, Southend’s homeless charity, said: “The emergency measures put in place during the lockdowns were very much needed, but as these inevitably had to be short -term and reactive, simply repeating them now will not go far enough to address the impending crisis”
“Without a long-term Government commitment to providing the policy, support and funding to keep people off the streets, many will have no option but to sleep rough or to resort to unsuitable and unsafe accommodation. The emergency funding provided by the Government will not last forever, and a transition plan to a long-term, strategic approach is desperately needed. People’s lives are depending on it!”
You can find out more at the Homeless Link webpage news.