The Government has launched a new taskforce to find long-term homes for people currently housed in emergency accommodation, the first step in what they say is a plan to end rough sleeping after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Homelessness tzar Dame Louise Casey has been put in charge of the taskforce to provide rough sleepers “long-term, safe accommodation” once they are able to leave the hotels, hostels and other short-term homes where many are currently housed. She will work with local authorities to ensure that rough sleepers don’t have to return to the streets.
The taskforce will also be in charge of ensuring that their short-term physical and mental health needs will be met while people are in lockdown in emergency accommodation over the coming weeks.
This national effort has potentially helped to protect thousands of lives
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick also confirmed that more than 90 per cent of rough sleepers known to councils have been offered accommodation – although not all have accepted that offer, such as Truro Big Issue vendor Craig who feared for his safety when coming into contact with others.
And there have also been reports of people leaving hotels or being removed after struggling to adapt to the rules and demands of their new surroundings. It underlines the difficulty of a one-size-fits-all approach to ending rough sleeping.
And that’s why the much-vaunted Housing First approach – which has seen success in Finland and increasingly in Scotland – is focused on wraparound support that is tailored to the individual once they are housed.