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£28m announced to support vaccinations and emergency accommodation for people sleeping rough this winter – Crisis response

This morning (20 December) the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced £28 million to provide funding to both encourage people who are homeless to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide emergency accommodation.

The funding will be allocated to councils across England as part of the ‘Protect and Vaccinate’ scheme and is intended to help provide mobile vaccinations, supporting outreach work in shelters to educate people about the dangers of the virus, and giving money to councils to provide safe and secure accommodation.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive at Crisis, said: “This new funding is incredibly welcome and will help to protect the lives of people facing the most vulnerable circumstances this winter. With COVID cases rapidly rising in recent weeks, this is worrying for everyone but even more so for people on the streets. Through our frontline services we know that vaccination rates amongst people experiencing homelessness are particularly low. This could prove fatal for many when also coupled with other health issues and the physical impact of spending night and day on the streets in the freezing cold.

“As this additional support becomes available, it must be based on need, rather than if someone was born in the UK or not. We'd also need to see the default assistance provided to be self-contained accommodation rather than communal shelters wherever possible, alongside the offer of a vaccine. We know that this is already happening in many areas of the country but not all. This becoming the standard offer of support will ensure that lives are best-protected and that people are really able to benefit as a result.”