Homelessness advocates urge the government to act decisively to restart Those In the Program
Homelessness activists have called for an immediate reboot of the Everyone In program of the government in England to provide secure housing for thousands of homeless people as the UK enters another lockdown as it is predicted that winter temperatures will fall.
They called on ministers within days of the first lockdown to re-issue strict guidelines sent out in March. Local authorities were required to provide emergency shelter for anyone at risk of ending up in the streets.
No one should be left on the streets with another lockdown in effect, infection rates at record highs and freezing weather. The government must act decisively and house absolutely everyone,’ said Polly Neate, executive director of the Shelter housing charity.
The Charity Crisis called for quick action, too. “It can’t be right that people are sleeping on the streets in the middle of winter during a pandemic, especially when the support services that homeless people rely on can’t operate,” said Matt Downie, policy director of Crisis.
Tenant groups have called for an additional extension of the ban on evictions, which has also been in place since March and expires on Monday.
Charities warn of an’ flood’ of private tenants who, if no action is taken, will be evicted from their homes in the coming weeks.
Around 29,000 individuals were put in permanent housing under the “Everybody In” program during the first lockdown, with thousands initially placed in low-cost hotels. The wide scope of the March policies meant that assistance was offered even to individuals not normally eligible for homelessness assistance, such as migrants.
But since June, when the guidelines lapsed and the economic recession began to deepen, homeless numbers have rebounded in some parts of the country, including London, where there are an estimated 700 homeless people on a typical night.
The government has vowed to take new steps soon to help homeless people.
However, amid warnings months earlier, the Labour Party accuses ministers of behaving too slowly, including from doctors who said that rough sleepers could die without immediate intervention.
“cost lives.”cost lives.
Meanwhile, on behalf of 20 members of the Renters Reform Alliance, which includes homeowners, housing and poverty organisations, a letter signed to the Guardian warns that more people are at risk of being evicted than during March’s first lockout.
It states, “To ensure tenant safety, the government must now ban evictions for the duration of all lockdowns.”
A full ban on evictions implies that all court proceedings, including bailiff actions, are stopped.
Tenants should not be forced to take part in proceedings that may put their health at risk.
Citizens Advice, one of the coalition’s founders, reports that at least 500,000 private tenants are already in arrears across the UK. Average rent arrears are £ 700, with a total of £ 360 million owed by tenants.
The Liberal Democrat housing spokesman, Tim Farron, called for an extension of the ban on evictions. “It would be nice if the government didn’t leave something this important until the last minute.”
We will do everything in our power to keep people from sleeping on the streets or being homeless this winter, a spokeswoman for MHCLG said, and that remains government policy.
Thousands of lives are secured by the ongoing ‘All In’ initiative. We have housed 29,000 homeless individuals, including 19,000 in permanent housing or with re-housing assistance. We’re making sure communities and voluntary organizations have the tools and resources they need.”