Posted in November 2020
The government has just announced that an additional £15 million of funding will be made available to help vulnerable people in the community who are sleeping rough and need extra protection from the Covid-19 virus.
This scheme is called the 'Protect Programme' and will help areas that most need it to provide additional support during the latest lockdown restrictions and throughout the colder winter months. This extra money is there to help councils offer safe accommodation for those who are most at risk of becoming homeless or are already having to sleep rough.
The 'Protect Programme' will run alongside the ongoing ‘Everyone In’ campaign, which was designed earlier in the year to protect thousands of lives and vulnerable people during the pandemic and which ministers claim had already helped more than 29,000 people by September.
This extra £15 million funding is in addition to the £91.5 million which was allocated to 274 councils in September to help fund their individual plans for rough sleepers over the coming months, on top of the £10 million Cold Weather Fund for all councils to help keep rough sleepers safe during this winter.
Areas with higher numbers of rough sleepers will receive extra targeted support to provide accommodation for those who are currently homeless and are having to sleep rough. The government will be working with councils to prioritise the clinically vulnerable and this initiative will continue throughout the winter months until March 2021.
The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has also confirmed that in order to help prevent people being at risk of homelessness, bailiff enforcement action will not be permitted during the national Covid-19 restrictions or over the Christmas period.
This is a continuation of the protections in place for tenants announced earlier this year, including 6 month notice periods and new court rules meaning judges will prioritise the most serious of cases.
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.”
Following this latest statement from the government, Jon Sparkes, Crisis Chief Executive, said: "With England now in lockdown and the cold weather creeping in, it’s positive to see the Westminster government providing additional funding through the Protect Programme to support people rough sleeping this winter, and to keep renters in their homes.
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