Councils will receive a new £10m Cold Weather Fund to help rough sleepers stay safe this winter.
The funding will help councils to provide more self-contained accommodation for rough sleepers to protect them from the risks posed by coronavirus.
Kelly Tolhurst, minister for housing and rough sleeping?said: ‘Winter is clearly a dangerous time for people who sleep rough.??These extra measures will help to?protect this vulnerable group from life-threatening cold weather, as well as the risk of contracting COVID-19, and also provide them with support into move-on accommodation.
’The work councils, providers, and the NHS has done since the start of the pandemic has saved lives and through this extra funding we will continue help them to rebuild their lives, part of our commitment to end rough sleeping for good.’
New guidance has also been published to help shelters reopen safely if needed, providing communal facilities?only if there is no other alternative.
Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, warned: ‘Traditional night shelters should only open as a last resort if self-contained accommodation is not a possibility.
’We welcome the operating principles published today, which will help make shelters open as safely as possible if they do become a necessity. We ask that local areas adhere to these principles in order that people sleeping rough can be supported safely in line with COVID-19 guidance.’