Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced £3.2 million emergency funding to help rough sleepers to self-isolate to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The funding will be available to all local authorities in England and will reimburse them for the cost of providing accommodation and services to those sleeping on the streets to help them to self-isolate.
It is in addition to the £492 million committed in 2020 to 2021 to support the government’s ambition to end rough sleeping.
This initial emergency response funding will ensure rapid support is offered to people who are unable to self-isolate, such as those staying in night shelters or assessment hubs, as well as people who are currently sleeping rough.
Local authorities will claim costs incurred from government. Each local authority will be notified as to the provisional maximum amount it is entitled to claim back, which is calculated based on the number of rough sleepers reported in the Autumn 2019 snapshot.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
"Public safety and protecting the most vulnerable people in society from coronavirus is this government’s top priority. We are working closely with councils and charities to ensure they have the support they need throughout this period.
"I would urge anyone who is concerned about someone sleeping rough to use the government’s StreetLink app to alert local support services who can reach out to those in need at this difficult time."
The announcement follows a range of government measures launched to tackle the effects of the virus, including:
- A COVID-19 Response fund, initially set at £5 billion
- A new £500 million Hardship Fund so local authorities can support economically vulnerable people and households.
The government expects most of the £500 million Hardship Fund to be used to provide more council tax relief, either through existing Local Council Tax Support schemes, or through similar measures. Government will set out more detail on this funding, including allocations, shortly.