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In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the UK government has taken unprecedented steps today to instruct local authorities/municipalities across England to house everyone – who is known to be street homeless – by this weekend.

World Habitat welcomes this move as a measure to save lives in an unprecedented crisis. However, we also urge the housing sector and local government to work together during this time to ensure that once the crisis is over, individuals do not return to the streets. We urge that secure, long-term accommodation options – and the necessary funding and support – are found to ensure that no-one has to return to street homelessness.

Patrick Duce, Campaign Impact Manager at World Habitat, said:

“The bold commitments made by the government today are important steps to address an immediate crisis – as vulnerable people who are street homeless are at direct risk from the continued spread of the virus. Our European End Street Homelessness Campaign has been working in cities across the UK to promote sustainable solutions for those without a home. Adequate provision should be made for the many staff working in services, including necessary personal protection equipment (PPE) and funding to provide accommodation that enables self-isolation. We will continue to support organisations – and others – to ensure that in time, these short-term measures are converted into long-term outcomes for some of the most vulnerable people in society.”

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