Ministers said the scheme “continues to help rough sleepers off the streets and protect their health”.
The new funding is aiming to fund more emergency accommodation as well as tackling hesitancy against vaccination amid the latest push for booster jabs.
The money will deliver mobile vaccinations to meet people where they are sleeping on the streets and support outreach work in shelters to educate people about the danger of the virus.
Councils will also receive funds to provide safe and secure accommodation while rough sleepers’ vaccination levels increase.
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The funding has been welcomed by Rick Henderson, CEO of Homeless Link, the national membership charity for frontline homelessness groups. He said Homeless Link’s 900 member organisations are working with local authorities across England to increase vaccinations.
“When people are rough sleeping they are extremely vulnerable to infection. In the first waves of the pandemic the Everyone In initiative saved lives,” said Henderson. “Covid-19 was responsible for the deaths of less than two per cent of people experiencing homelessness during 2020 as opposed to 12 per cent of the general population which showed that assertive action worked.
“We also know that people facing homelessness are much less likely to be vaccinated than people in the general population.
“They are therefore much more vulnerable to the Omicron variant. Many are not registered with GPs and don’t have access to mobile phones. Bringing people into accommodation will increase the uptake of vaccinations.”
There have been warnings that homeless people could be left on the streets this winter in recent weeks – Housing Justice said emergency beds could be down by around a half compared to pre-pandemic levels as Omicron shut shelters.
Meanwhile, Covid-19 was a minor factor in the Office for National Statistics’ homeless deaths figures, released earlier this month. In total, just 13 deaths were attributed to the virus out of almost 700 in England and Wales in 2020.
“Through our frontline services we know that vaccination rates amongst people experiencing homelessness are particularly low. This could prove fatal for many when also coupled with other health issues and the physical impact of spending night and day on the streets in the freezing cold,” added Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes.
“As this additional support becomes available, it must be based on need, rather than if someone was born in the UK or not. We’d also need to see the default assistance provided to be self-contained accommodation rather than communal shelters wherever possible, alongside the offer of a vaccine.”