William Eichler 20 March 2020

Homeless families need more Coronavirus protection, charity says

Homeless families need more Coronavirus protection, charity says image

Families in temporary accommodation should be provided with better protection against Coronavirus, a housing charity has said.

New figures on homelessness, released yesterday by the Government, show that in the last year a household became homeless every four minutes in England.

They also revealed that there are 62,280 homeless families living in temporary accommodation (TA), of which 9% (5,400) are living in emergency B&B’s and hostels where they have to share kitchens and bathrooms, and often sleep in a single room.

The number of families living in temporary accommodation has increased by almost a third (31%) in the last five years.

Responding to these figures, the homelessness charity Shelter called on the Government to help homeless families in temporary accommodation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘In the last few days, the Government has acted swiftly to help renters and people sleeping rough by putting in place strong emergency measures to help safeguard these groups during the coronavirus crisis. It must now do the same for homeless families in shared and one-room temporary accommodation,’ said Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter.

‘Thousands of families with children are in this situation, living in cramped emergency B&Bs and hostels. It can be more difficult for them to follow NHS isolation guidance when they are sharing kitchens and bathrooms with strangers, living a single room or even sharing a bed. And we don’t know how children will cope being stuck in these conditions when schools close.

‘We need to protect families already experiencing the trauma of homelessness from greater risk of coronavirus. That’s why we’re urging the government to follow suit with additional funding and support for councils to help those currently in shared temporary accommodation and prevent anyone else ending up there. This is a key way we can keep more people safe.’

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