“Councils acted instantly when the pandemic struck to address the immediate crisis of getting thousands of rough sleepers off the streets to protect them from the spread of coronavirus."
A new report today sets out how the sector support programme, delivered by the Local Government Association, is sharing learning and good practice from the Everyone In initiative to help eliminate rough sleeping for good.
The report, Voice of the sector: supporting rough sleepers at a time of national crisis highlights what can be achieved when all parts of the public, voluntary and community sectors work together towards a common goal, as well as highlighting some of the key challenges that councils continue to face.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, councils were required to act urgently and rapidly to support rough sleepers off the streets and into safe and suitable accommodation to protect them from the spread of the virus under the Government’s Everyone In scheme.
Following the success of Everyone In, which saw over 37,000 vulnerable people supported, the LGA has worked with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to facilitate a peer support process as part of the sector support programme.
This has enabled lead council officers to reflect on their work supporting rough sleepers and share learning to help inform the next stage of their response through a programme of Delivery and Impact Panels.
Between December 2020 and February 2021, the LGA facilitated 28 Delivery and Impact Panels involving 222 councils.
The report outlines the major issues, themes and learning from these panel sessions, capturing the voice of the sector as it carried out a crucial role at a time of national crisis.
Amongst the key themes to emerge were the commitment and dedication of frontline staff, opportunities for innovation, reframing relationships with partners, strengthened approaches to data sharing and welcoming of national focus and funding from government.
Councils also highlighted areas for improvement, including a need for long-term funding, sustaining the current rough sleeping approach, improving access to social housing and securing clarity of guidance for rough sleepers with no recourse to public funds.
Cllr David Renard, LGA housing spokesperson, said:
“Councils acted instantly when the pandemic struck to address the immediate crisis of getting thousands of rough sleepers off the streets to protect them from the spread of coronavirus.
“Working closely with government and other partners, finding accommodation for 37,000 vulnerable people has been a phenomenal achievement.
“As part of the sector support programme, we have sought to build on the experiences of councils in responding to the crisis by sharing learning, knowledge and expertise so we can continue to work together to tackle rough sleeping.
“The issues and ideas that have come from this have shaped this report, as we look to support the Government in its ambition of ending rough sleeping altogether.”
Notes to editors