Support for vulnerable individuals seeking accommodation and food in the city is being adapted rapidly in response to the coronavirus situation and public health requirements. This is a collective effort, bringing together public services, a range of organisations, groups and individuals.
If you are concerned about someone you have seen sleeping out, please report the details through Streetlink to help us manage information accurately.
Between 27 March and 31 July over 120 individuals have been housed in emergency accommodation, following government instructions to all local authorities.
The accommodation we have been using during this time differs from our usual provision, as it needed to support self-isolation, and has relied on working closely with local businesses and organisations. More than 50 new units were made available for this purpose.
A vast majority of those people housed in temporary accommodation during the height of the pandemic have now been settled into more permanent accommodation, as is the aim of all our work with rough sleepers.
As is the case all year round, the people we see sleeping out changes from night-to-night, with new arrivals most days. This is why everyone involved works to engage with and find solutions for people on a daily basis.
In Norwich, our Pathways team already brings together specialist agencies to make sure anyone sleeping out can access support, and we will continue to work very closely together as part of business continuity planning going forward.
Since the everyone in scheme Norwich City Council has continued to accommodate rough sleepers into emergency accommodation. Norwich City Council’s efforts to help rough sleepers and those affected by homelessness in the city during the Covid-19 pandemic have been boosted after the authority secured nearly £217,350k in funding to ensure vulnerable people can remain housed.
“While the initial focus was on supporting people into accommodation short-term, Covid-19 has helped to speed up our ambitions to bring an end rough sleeping in Norwich and this welcome influx of money helps us continue to develop plans to get the support, services and move-on accommodation in place so that no one has to return to the street.’’
As the weather turns cold, we start to plan for night shelters and severe weather. Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) is provided by the Local Authority and opens for short periods when severe weather is forecast. Rough sleepers face the "double threat" of coronavirus and cold weather this year. Steps have already been taken to start planning for this winter and any possible SWEP activation.
All councils are following Public Health England’s guidance for services supporting rough sleepers.
We are working with partners, community groups and volunteers to coordinate food deliveries to vulnerable groups. This includes those classified as vulnerable by the government because of the coronavirus risks, as well as those individuals in the city centre seeking food or accommodation.
The expert medical guidance on social distancing issued to manage the outbreak has highlighted the importance of best practice around food provision for the most vulnerable in our communities. This is about making sure that we get food to people safely, rather than bringing people to food, and we are working positively with a number of groups involved in providing food in this way.
We are making arrangements for food to be delivered to hostels and other temporary accommodation so that individuals can access this safely. As part of our work to coordinate this approach, we will also be facilitating medicine deliveries from government to those most at risk in temporary accommodation.
Groups that have been providing food in the city centre that can no longer do so under government guidance on gatherings are invited to join our efforts in continuing to support people.
There are a number of ways you can be involved safely; from assisting with food deliveries to donating any excess food.
It is crucial that vulnerable residents are able to get access to essential food and medicines during the outbreak of covid-19 (coronavirus).
Any businesses or organisations that are willing and able to help in this task should complete this form. All support is greatly appreciated in this great time of need.
For individuals, Voluntary Norfolk are coordinating all the offers of time from those healthy enough to help. They will link us with any volunteers after getting you on board.
Set up a neighbour support group
Make a donation
Norfolk Community Foundation are taking donations which will then be put into voluntary groups who can redistribute money to vital services for those more vulnerable.
You can also donate small food parcels to your local Foodbank.