England: MPs to examine effect of coronavirus on homelessness and PRS

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on homelessness, rough sleeping and the private rented sector is to be examined by MPs.

In response to the pandemic, the UK Government launched the Everyone In scheme, whereby local authorities were required to house rough sleepers in hotels or emergency accommodation. It also announced £3.2 million in funding for local authorities to protect those who are homeless.

A number of schemes were also introduced intended to support people in the private rented sector, including halting evictions for three months and raising the Local Housing Allowance rate.

However, there are concerns about the short and long-term impact of these strategies, including the quality of accommodation and access to amenities, such as s for homeless people in temporary accommodation and the exit strategy when social distancing measures are reduced. There are also concerns about people in the private rented sector who may build up rent arrears over the coming months and still face eviction when the three month ban expires.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) committee will examine how effective the government support has been in supporting individuals in the private rented sector or who are homeless. It will also look at what long term strategies will need to be put in place to support both groups in the long-term, once current measures expire.

Clive Betts MP, chair of the HCLG committee, said: “It is vital that those in precarious living situations are supported by the government. We must ensure that people without homes and those sleeping rough are protected during this health crisis. Equally, people cannot be forced to leave their homes at a time when finding a new place to live simply isn’t possible

“However, we must also look at what will happen a month from now and beyond. Where will those currently housed in hotels go when the Everyone In scheme expires? What happens in three months time when the eviction ban lapses for people who have no job and now owe three months rent?”

The committee invites written evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on homelessness, rough sleeping, and the private rented sector, as well as any other connected issues. In particular, the committee is interesting in finding out:

  • How effective has the support provided by MHCLG and other government departments in addressing the impact of COVID-19 on those in the private rented sector, rough sleepers, and the homeless?
  • What problems remain a current and immediate concern for these groups?
  • What might be the immediate post-lockdown impacts for these groups, and what action is needed to help with these?

Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.

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