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Government announces support package for people rough sleeping this winter – Crisis Response

Today, (Tuesday 13th October) the government has announced a package of support to help people sleeping rough this winter. The support package includes:

  • £10m Cold Weather Payment for councils to help people rough sleeping this winter
  • £2m for faith and community groups to help them get people rough sleeping into accommodation
  • Guidance on reopening shelters 

Last week Crisis alongside 16 of Britain’s leading health and homelessness organisations, including the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of General Practitioners and St Mungo’s, issued an open letter to the Prime Minister calling on the UK Government to ensure everyone who is sleeping rough is given safe, self-contained accommodation as a priority due to the high risk of coronavirus transmission in communal night shelters.

Responding to the announcement Jon Sparkes, Crisis Chief Executive, said: “With temperatures dropping and coronavirus cases on the rise, this funding falls short of the bold action we need to keep people sleeping on our streets safe this winter. 

“Back in March, the government rightly decided that night shelters and hostels were not a safe environment for people during the pandemic. It’s completely unacceptable that this approach should now change as we go into winter when the threat remains the same. We must not force people to choose between freezing on the street or a shelter, when both needlessly put lives at risk. 

“We urgently need the government to see sense on this matter and keep winter night shelters closed. They must instead provide councils with the crucial funding they need to provide everyone forced to sleep rough with safe, self-contained accommodation, as they did in March. Anything but this is risking lives.”