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13 October, 2020 Open access

Government announces £10 million Cold Weather Fund for councils to help rough sleepers

Communities Secretary adds that a further £2 million will be made available for faith and community groups to help provide secure accommodation

The government has announced a £10 million Cold Weather Fund for councils to help rough sleepers.

Following on from the Next Steps Accommodation Programme funding of £266 million announced in July, the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has today announced a winter package of support - aimed at giving local areas the tools and funding they need to protect people from life-threatening cold weather and the risks posed by coronavirus (COVID-19) - which includes - 

However, highlighting the open letter sent to the Prime Minister last week - which called on the government to ensure that homeless people are not forced into communal nightshelters - Crisis Chief Executive Jon Sparkes responded to today's announcement, saying

'With temperatures dropping and coronavirus cases on the rise, this funding falls short of the bold action we need to keep people sleeping on our streets safe this winter. 

Back in March, the government rightly decided that night shelters and hostels were not a safe environment for people during the pandemic. It’s completely unacceptable that this approach should now change as we go into winter when the threat remains the same. We must not force people to choose between freezing on the street or a shelter, when both needlessly put lives at risk. 

We urgently need the government to see sense on this matter and keep winter night shelters closed. They must instead provide councils with the crucial funding they need to provide everyone forced to sleep rough with safe, self-contained accommodation, as they did in March. Anything but this is risking lives.'

For more information, see Rough sleepers to be helped to keep safe this winter from gov.uk