Change of Use: Coronavirus

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 11th August 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Gardner of Parkes Baroness Gardner of Parkes Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they plan to take to bring presently unused office spaces into use to provide housing for those who are unable to find safe places to live during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of Baroness Gardner of Parkes Baroness Gardner of Parkes Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for providing access to unused holiday lets accommodation in London to homeless people.

Photo of Lord Greenhalgh Lord Greenhalgh Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), The Minister of State, Home Department

Almost 15,000 vulnerable people have been housed in emergency accommodation, including hotels, since the start of the COVID-19 emergency. This includes people coming in directly from the streets, people previously housed in shared night shelters and people who have become vulnerable to rough sleeping during the pandemic.

On 24 June we announced that we are providing local authorities with a further £105 million to enable them to best support those placed into emergency accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This commitment will help to ensure that as few of these people as possible return to the streets.

We also recently announced that £160 million of Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme funding will help ensure that 6,000 new housing units are put into the system, with 3,300 of these becoming available within 2020/21. We expect local authorities and registered providers to bring forward units of accommodation from a variety of sources and this could potentially include repurposing other buildings where appropriate.

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