Robert Jenrick has announced a further £15m in funding to house rough sleepers, in a new scheme that will run alongside the Everyone In initiative.
The housing secretary said the Protect Programme will help areas that need the most additional support during the new COVID restrictions and over winter.
The £15m bolsters the £91.5m that was allocated to 274 councils in September to fund their individual plans for rough sleepers over the coming months.
It also adds to the £10m Cold Weather Fund allocated to all councils to help keep rough sleepers safe this winter.
Areas with high numbers of homeless people will receive extra targeted support to provide accommodation for those currently sleeping rough.
The extra support will help councils prioritise those who are classed as clinically vulnerable, and will continue till March 2021.
Jenrick said: “The way we have protected rough sleepers from COVID-19 is widely considered to be the best in the world.
“At the start of the pandemic we launched Everyone In, which protected thousands of vulnerable people.
“That work hasn’t stopped and we’ve backed it with £700m.
“As the new national measures come into force, I am launching the Protect Programme to ensure councils are offering everyone sleeping rough on our streets today somewhere safe to go – protecting people from the virus and moving forward with our goal of eliminating rough sleeping.”
All councils will have to update their rough sleeping plans by the end of the year, providing an overview of their support for those sleeping rough.
They will also be asked to carry out a rapid assessment of need for everyone they accommodate and to consider time limited interventions for those rough sleeping now or new to rough sleeping.
Councils have overall welcomed the funding for rough sleepers, though urged the government to go further.
Cllr James Jamieson, chair of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “As we enter this second national lockdown, councils will continue to do everything they can to accommodate new rough sleepers during the winter as well as support those already off the streets into safe, long-term accommodation with the appropriate support.
“Councils are stepping up to this huge ongoing challenge and this funding is good news.
“It will boost local efforts to try and find safe, self-contained accommodation available to all those who need it over the winter.”
Jamieson added: “It is good a further extension has been announced to measures to protect tenants from eviction, which should, for now, reassure worried tenants and allay the serious concerns councils have had over the potential risk of homelessness some private renters may have faced during this second lockdown and over the Christmas period.
“We would also urge the government to temporarily remove the No Recourse to Public Funds condition, which would reduce public health risks and pressures on homelessness services by enabling vulnerable people to access welfare benefits, who are currently unable to do so because of their immigration status.”
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