The Government has been urged to provide self contained accommodation for homeless people this winter to protect them from coronavirus by charities and health bodies.
An open letter to the prime minister warns that homeless people are facing the double threat of cold weather and COVID-19 this winter.
It warns that communal night shelters will not be suitable to help stop the spread of the virus.
The letter states: ‘With cases of coronavirus once again rapidly rising across England, combined with the threat that winter already poses to the health of people sleeping rough, we are urgently calling on you to ensure that local authorities can provide people sleeping rough with safe, self-contained accommodation during the pandemic.
‘This must be followed up with increased funding, which is critically needed to enable local authorities to provide effective support. The support into accommodation from local authorities must apply to all those who need it across the country, as we saw with the early approach of the Everyone In scheme.’
A study published in The Lancet shows that early action to protect homeless people managed to avoid 266 deaths during the first wave of the pandemic.
A government-backed advisory panel formed to help eradicate rough sleeping has met just once in the last year, it has emerged.