The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the biggest decline in the number of rough sleepers found seeking shelter in bins for seven years – but waste management firms and homelessness charities have warned “there is still more to do”.
Waste industry company Biffa reported that staff found 29 people between April and December 2020 – down from 102 cases in 2019 – as Covid-19 restrictions and the Everyone In campaign moved rough sleepers off the streets.
The decline ends a seven-year spell in which the number of reported incidents of rough sleeping in bins rose by 14 per cent year-on-year between 2014 and 2019, totalling 740 cases.
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Paul Wright, group health and safety director at Biffa, said the firm had worked closely with homelessness helpline Streetlink to raise awareness of the issue with 25,000 businesses as well as other companies in the waste industry and homelessness charities.
“It requires constant vigilance and Biffa is committed to continuous improvement of industry practices and those of our customers to prevent unnecessary injuries and fatalities,” said Wright.