Communities urged to help new Rough Sleeping Taskforce

Dame Louise Casey has urged businesses, faith groups and local communities to collaborate with the government and councils to help house rough sleepers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 15,000 rough sleepers have been housed in emergency accommodation such as hotels since the beginning of the crisis in order to ensure their safety. Dame Louise Casey, the head of the Covid-19 rough sleeping taskforce, has now said that this is an ‘extraordinary opportunity’ to get them to engage with services and rebuild their lives so that they don’t have to return to the streets.

She said: “It has been an incredible achievement to bring almost 15,000 homeless people into emergency accommodation. I am truly grateful to the council staff, charity workers and others that made that happen. However this terrible crisis has also given us an extraordinary opportunity to build on the success of bringing ‘everyone in’ and to try to make sure they don’t go back to the streets.

“While government, councils and frontline charities are all doing what they can, it’s clear that we will need the whole of society to help too, whether that is youth hostels offering rooms, businesses providing employment opportunities, or faith and community groups reaching out the hand of friendship. We have seen the best of the British public and civil society already in response to this crisis and we need to keep that spirit going as we continue to help the most vulnerable former rough sleepers stay safe inside.”

The taskforce will work with local government, charities, businesses, faith and community groups, and other public sector partners across the country on plans to ensure rough sleepers can move into safe accommodation once the immediate crisis is over. The taskforce will also ensure the thousands of rough sleepers now in accommodation continue to receive the physical and mental health support they need over the coming weeks and months.