Thousands of homeless promised housing slip off the radar

Thousands of homeless people promised permanent housing by the government after the first wave of coronavirus have now slipped off the radar without any state support.

According to The Independent, ministers are refusing to restart the programme that saw homeless people given accommodation in spring last year, despite increasing fears that many have returned to the streets ahead of the third lockdown and the spread of the more infectious variant of coronavirus.

Approximately one-third of the 29,000 rough sleepers who were housed under the Everyone In scheme in the first wave have still not been moved into ‘settled accommodation’. The Independent, however, argues that less than half of those housed under the programme have been moved into settled accommodation – raising questions about the accuracy of the government’s claims, and concern for those who are back on the streets.

An analysis of figures from 45 local authorities which responded to a data request shows that 54 per cent are still in hotels, have been moved into other emergency housing or are no longer being supported by the council. Furthermore, more than a fifth have either been evicted from emergency accommodation, or are recorded as leaving on their own terms.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “During the first national lockdown the government recognised just how dangerous it is to be sleeping on the streets in the middle of a deadly pandemic and took an ‘Everyone In’ approach. We are now in a situation as bad, if not worse, than last March. The government must act urgently to direct councils to provide safe emergency accommodation to anyone who is at risk of sleeping rough.”