The UK government has announced that it will extend the eviction ban for renters in England till 21 February.
The development comes after PM Boris Johnson said earlier this week that the existing ban was under review and after growing calls for an extension.
The government has also committed an extra £10m funding to house rough sleepers during lockdown, and says it will provide them with access to the COVID-19 vaccine programme.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “At the start of this pandemic, we made sure that the most vulnerable in society were protected.
“This winter, we are continuing in this vein and redoubling our efforts to help those most in need.
“Our ongoing Everyone In initiative is widely regarded as one of the most successful of its kind in the world, ensuring 33,000 people are safe in accommodation.”
Jenrick said: “We are now going further and focusing on GP registration of rough sleepers.
Commenting on the development, Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “These renewed efforts to protect people who are homeless in the pandemic will save lives.
“It was truly a landmark moment when, back in March, everyone on the streets was offered somewhere safe to stay.
“It’s as important, if not more so, that today we see government leadership to protect all those sleeping rough.
“The highly infectious new strain of Coronavirus alongside the cold weather makes this the most dangerous moment of the pandemic for those without a home.”
Sparkes continued: “What is very welcome here is the two-pronged approach – a continued commitment to getting everyone into safe accommodation but also now making sure people are registered with a GP so they can quickly access the vaccines.
“We know through our services that people facing homelessness often are not registered with a doctor’s surgery.
“Addressing this issue will be a lifesaving intervention and a step towards ensuring people who are homeless are protected in the longer-term.”
Earlier in the week, the Scottish government announced that it would be extending its ban on evictions.
The ban was set to end on 22 January, but the Scottish Parliament has confirmed that it will extend it till 31 March, subject to three-week reviews.
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