'Everyone In 2' essential to protect people sleeping rough during lockdown
In the original lockdown, the Government recognised the need to act urgently to support people off the streets and into self-contained accommodation, protecting individuals and their communities from the virus.
As we enter a second national lockdown of at least a month with winter approaching, it is even more important that government and the homelessness sector and related organisations work together to bring Everyone In. This will prevent deaths and the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that people receive support to meet their other health and wellbeing needs as the pandemic continues.
We are calling for ‘Everyone In 2’ to be accompanied by adequate funding for local authorities to source accommodation, and are offering our support and that of the sector to repeat and exceed the success of the scheme in March, which saw over 15,000 people placed into emergency accommodation.
Our members from across the country have worked tirelessly to innovate and adapt the support they offer to meet the new demands brought about by the pandemic, and have learned what works and what doesn’t. Many are now supporting more people in different ways and using new approaches. These organisations remain open and stand ready to rise to the new challenge of lockdown 2.
At Homeless Link, we are also keen to play our part, again supporting frontline services with information, guidance and practice sharing, and helping to ensure vital funds get to organisations that need it the most. Having learnt from the original Everyone In response, we would also like to see more specialist provision in place this time round, ensuring that women, young people and other groups are supported appropriately and feel safe and secure.
The homelessness sector is willing and able to be fully involved in the COVID-19 response. We ask that government facilitate our vital role by offering clear and timely communications, directions and guidance to enable us to provide the best possible support for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping as the pandemic continues.
When lockdown comes to an end, it will once again be essential to have a transition plan in place to ensure we keep ‘Everyone In For Good’. Ideally this would build on progress already made in moving people on from emergency and short-term accommodation and offering longer-term solutions through the Next Steps Accommodation Plan.