NOW IS THE TIME TO WORK TOGETHER TO END ROUGH SLEEPING
The Everyone In scheme has been life changing for so many people who had been rough sleeping in the London Borough of Newham during this pandemic. We now have a great opportunity to end rough sleeping for good and to ensure that we help those in temporary accommodation to find somewhere where they can call home.
The Government recently published new figures showing that there has been a significant reduction in people rough sleeping for a single night, with Newham – where we are based – seeing one of the largest reductions in the country. This is largely thanks to the Government’s Everyone In scheme, that offered 90% of people sleeping rough at the start of lockdown access to accommodation to protect them from COVID-19.
• 2,688 people were recorded as sleeping rough on a given night in autumn 2020, a reduction of 37% from last year. However, this is 52% higher than in 2010 when the data was first collected.
• Newham saw a 91% reduction in the number of people sleeping rough for a single night in Autumn 2020, compared to the previous year – one of the largest reductions seen across England.
The Everyone In scheme has been an immense collective achievement by local authorities, charities and the government in saving thousands of lives. This momentum needs to be sustained rather than gradually undone by changes in law and the recent announcements in the Budget.
Last year, the government put a ban on evictions where people had run up rent arrears because of the pandemic. But in January, the ban was changed and the length of arrears to avoid eviction was reduced, and so now more people are at risk of losing their homes. We are now seeing thousands of people stuck in temporary accommodation and many facing evictions through no fault of their own. It was disappointing to see in this week’s Budget that the only housing support is for home buyers, despite 850,000 renters in Covid-19 debt and facing eviction. This is a huge lost opportunity to help people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and to build on the ‘Everyone In’ progress.
This pandemic has exasperated inequalities and now is the time to protect our community members in these incredibly dangerous times.
Amanda Dubarry, Chief Executive of Your Place, said, “We welcome the huge effort by central and local government to help people off the streets during this pandemic. We have a long way to go yet but this progress is great to see, and I am proud that Your Place has had a vital role with the London Borough of Newham to support people experiencing homelessness in the area through our Assessment Hub. However, we need to build on this success and I urge the government to ensure the continued safety net for the thousands of people who have or are at risk of losing their homes, and keep pushing to a target of zero people sleeping rough.”