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THOUSANDS of homeless people given emergency shelter during the Covid-19 pandemic could be kicked out onto the streets by the end of the month, the homeless charity Crisis warned today.
Crisis understands that most contracts between local authorities and hotels are due to end as government funding allocated to housing rough sleepers during the pandemic runs out.
If ministers fail to provide alternative accommodation, more than 14,500 people housed under the “Everybody in” scheme risk being driven back onto the streets.
But despite the impending end date just a few weeks away, Crisis says it has had “no indication at all” from the government that it will extend the scheme.
The charity’s director of policy Matt Downie said: “We will take one of two paths here: one is that 15,000 people are permanently helped out of homelessness through the amazing Everyone In scheme, or we will see a massive increase in rough sleeping in this country just at the point when we thought it would be possible to avoid that.
“It's within the government's control to make decisions so that doesn't happen, for example to either continue hotel schemes or to give alternative arrangements to local authorities and individuals.”
The charity wants to see the government table an emergency homelessness bill forcing councils in England to provide accommodation for a year to anyone made homeless during the pandemic.
In March, housing minister Luke Hall announced an initial £3.2 million to local councils followed by £3.2 billion over the next few months, though this sum was expected to cover a variety of other costs including social care.
However, local authorities have raised concerns that funds are running out and that the funding was already insufficient and left them to top it up from depleted budgets.
A government spokesperson said that suggestions it was rowing back on its commitment to the scheme were “untrue.”
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