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SIXTEEN rough sleepers are known to have died with Covid-19 during the first three months of the lockdown, new figures show.
The deaths were registered between March 26 and June 26, the Office for National Statistics reported, though it cautioned that the figure could be higher.
Homeless charities responded by urging the government to continue keeping people off the street and make it clear to councils that they should provide accommodation to everyone in need.
Of the homeless people identified, the majority were men, six lived in London and three in the north-west.
Shadow housing secretary Thangham Debbonaire argued that the deaths demonstrated “the need to help homeless people off the streets during the pandemic.”
She said: “Local councils worked hard to give people emergency accommodation as part of the government’s Everybody In policy.
“This was a good start, but the government has left out people who have found themselves on the streets since the start of lockdown.”
About 15,000 people have been placed in emergency accommodation during the pandemic.
However, as reported by the Morning Star, hundreds have been left out of the scheme due to their immigration status, a lack of support for the entrenched homeless and funds running dry before new rough sleepers could be housed.
The Crisis charity’s chief executive, Jon Sparkes, said that efforts to move rough sleepers into safe accommodation had “undoubtedly saved lives,” adding: “We must now build on this.”
He called for “emergency homelessness legislation to guarantee everyone experiencing homelessness has the security of a safe and settled home.
“Without this, people risk being forced back on our streets or into crowded shelters, with the danger posed by the virus still very real.”
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