Night Shelters: Coronavirus

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 7th October 2020.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the availability of winter night shelter provision during the covid-19 restrictions.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The current advice remains that night shelters should remain closed for now – and providers should continue to explore alternative options for self-contained accommodation.

However, we recognise that the sector needs clarity on provision as winter approaches. We are working with the sector and health experts to consider operating principles shelters would need to follow so that they can be reopened as safely as possible, when self-contained accommodation cannot be made available. We will be setting out further advice on this as soon as possible.

On 17 September we announced local authority allocations for the short-term funding aspect of Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP). £91.5 million was allocated to 274 councils in England to help vulnerable people housed during the pandemic. The remaining £13.5 million of funding will be used to support local authorities to tackle new and emerging challenges over the winter.

We are also funding significant longer-term accommodation for rough sleepers via the NSAP – 3,300 homes this year alone – and tailored support so as few people as possible housed in emergency accommodation return to life on the streets.

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