Providing emergency accommodation and support to keep those sleeping rough safe during Covid-19 has been essential.
Since lockdown was announced in March, Norwich City Council has housed over 120 people in emergency accommodation, following government instructions to all local authorities.
A vast majority of those people housed in emergency accommodation have now been settled into more permanent housing, as is the aim with all our work with rough sleepers.
During this period of national restrictions, we are continuing to work alongside Pathways to support those who have returned to the street, or find themselves newly homeless, offering support and accommodation.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have arranged food provision for rough sleepers in emergency accommodation through working closely with local groups, which will continue as needed. This coordinated approach means we can be sure people can access food, safely.
Face coverings and hand sanitisers will continue to be provided, alongside other supplies and support for physical, substance misuse and mental health issues, and help to get people back into work or back in touch with their families.
Additionally, as in previous years, the council and its partners have put in place extra measures under the Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP), including winter shelter provision.
The council has recently secured over £1.4m worth of funding from the government’s Next Steps Accommodation programme, as well as £25,000 from its Cold Weather Fund.
With this funding we will continue to provide emergency accommodation and support where needed. It will also allow us to focus on our long term aim of preventing people returning to the streets through increasing the amount of permanent housing for former rough sleepers in partnership with Broadland Housing Association, and funding specialist support workers.
Councillor Kevin Maguire, Norwich City Council cabinet member with responsibility for rough sleeping, said: “While the initial focus was on supporting people into accommodation in the short term, Covid-19 has helped to speed up our ambitions to bring an end to 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 is forced to return to the street.
“However, as winter approaches and with the pandemic still with us, the risk of people being pushed into homelessness increases, which we’re already experiencing, so it’s vital that the government continues to provide the necessary funding to allow local councils to provide safe and secure accommodation, as well as support to rebuild lives.”
If residents are concerned about someone they have seen sleeping out, please report the details through Streetlink to help us manage information accurately.