Government confirms continued emergency support for homeless people in hotels



Emergency funding to provide hotel accommodation so people who are homeless could safely isolate themselves throughout the coronavirus crisis will remain in place until they can be moved into suitable homes, the Scottish Government has said.

Near the beginning of lockdown in March, third sector organisations such as Simon Community Scotland were awarded funding to purchase hotel accommodation to house homeless people to keep them safe during the pandemic. By March 26, Glasgow City Council reached a deal to provide hotel accommodation for all of the city’s rough sleepers.

So far, more than £1.5 million has been provided.

Now the government has confirmed that it is taking measures to ensure that no one will return to the streets post-coronavirus.

In a letter to Sean Clerkin from the Scottish Tenants Organisation, an official from the Better Homes Division of the Scottish Government wrote: “As you will know, in March when Scotland was placed into lockdown, the Scottish Government, third sector organisations and local authorities pulled together to ensure anyone found to be homeless or rough sleeping were provided with accommodation to safely self-isolate.

“By supporting those who were most vulnerable and offering them hotel accommodation, recent figures from local partners show a much welcomed decrease in the number of people rough sleeping across Scotland. Those who have not taken up this offer of support are known to services and supported in other ways.”

The letter said: “Our ambition is to capitalise on the unique opportunity we have and secure our goal of ending homelessness in Scotland. We want to secure settled homes for those currently in emergency accommodation and want to prevent increases in homelessness among those who may, for example, experience a drop in household income or loss of employment following the pandemic.”

It added: “It may be worth highlighting that over £1.5 million has been provided so far to third sector organisations to acquire emergency hotel accommodation for people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness. This support will not be removed until we have a safe way of moving people on from this accommodation in to a home that suits their needs.”

The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) was reconvened last month to make recommendations to ministers on what actions are needed to end homelessness during the pandemic and beyond. Amongst a top line summary of those recommendations was a call to ensure there is an immediate flexible supply of affordable housing for all in emergency accommodation or rough sleeping.

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