Tower Hamlets Council has found accommodation for 136 rough sleepers in local hotels, hostels and B&Bs including alternate support for those suffering with addictions and health issues, according to a report published in The Docklands and East London Advertiser.
The emergency £3.2m rough sleeper aid provided by the Government to the UK’s local authorities in March apparently helped ease homelessness during coronavirus pandemic.
The Government said that this initiative was in line with their existing Rough Sleeping Strategy of 2018. A spokesperson said the aim was “to ensure the most vulnerable people in our society continue to get the support they need throughout this period”.
A Tower Hamlets Council spokesperson told the The Docklands and East London Advertiser: “Our outreach teams continue to work on the ground every day to respond to Street Link reports and to track down anyone still not in accommodation. We believe fewer than 10 people remain on the streets.
“They are a complex group and are known to our teams. So far they have refused offers of support but we continue to engage with them every day.”
According to the Tower Hamlets Council website, rough sleepers account for only a small percentage of homeless people most of whom can seek shelter via couch surfing or homeless shelters. The incentive to eliminate all rough sleepers (with the exception of those who refuse aid) is ongoing.
A Tower Hamlets Council spokesperson told The Docklands and East London Advertiser: “Councils across London are now working on plans to support all those in hostels and hotels in the longer term. There are a number of challenges including funding and the availability of suitable accommodation but we are working to the guiding principle of ‘in for good’ and are determined to find solutions wherever we can.”
The council encourages Tower Hamlets locals to tell StreetLink if they encounter a rough sleeper. StreekLink is software which alerts authorities to find Government sponsored accommodation for those unable to find shelter during COVID-19 lockdown.