The Big Issue is here for the 500,000 people Covid-19 is pushing to the brink

We have heard the District Councils’ Network homelessness warning. The Big Issue has been calling for future planning to prevent rough sleeping. In this week’s magazine we set out the lay of the land

The head of the Government’s Rough Sleeping Taskforce Dame Louise Casey has shed more light on her plans to prevent rough sleepers going back to the streets, announcing 6,000 long-term safe homes and accelerated 433 million funding. This is a welcome announcement following on from the massive achievement of the Everybody In scheme to virtually end rough sleeping overnight.

In this week’s magazine, our focus is not only on what is next for the rough sleepers currently off the streets and housed in hotels – but also on the potential looming crisis on the horizon.

We have heard the stark warning from The District Councils’ Network, a member group representing 191 district councils in England. They say that over 500,000 people could be facing economic catastrophe and pushed over the cliff edge by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Job losses and an inability to meet rent and mortgage payments will have a devastating impact with 486,242 households spending more than half their earnings on private rented housing. That could leave thousands – including frontline workers on low wages who are getting the country through the Covid-19 crisis – at risk of homelessness when the government’s evictions ban, in England, ends.

Frontline workers on low wages, such as those dealing with the emergency in the health, food and logistics sectors, are likely to be especially susceptible, according to the body.

It’s a sign of the challenges to come.

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At The Big Issue, we have been calling for future planning to be part of the overarching role of public and private bodies working towards the greater good. That is accelerating now. When the buffer of furlough payments is removed, we mustn’t let the most vulnerable tip into poverty. We recognise that is a huge task, but it’s a vital one for the wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom kept us all going during the crisis.

In this week’s magazine, we speak to some of the individuals and those public bodies involved in the next step of ending rough sleeping for good.

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