LGA responds to call to protect people sleeping rough this winter

"Councils will do everything they can to get rough sleepers off the streets and into safe and suitable accommodation, to protect them from the spread of coronavirus."


Homeless man sitting on the street and covering his eyes

Responding to a call from medical bodies and homelessness organisations on government to protect people sleeping rough this winter, Cllr David Renard, Local Government Association housing spokesperson, said:

“Councils will do everything they can to get rough sleepers off the streets and into safe and suitable accommodation, to protect them from the spread of coronavirus.

“However we would like to see government help to reduce rough sleeping by using the Spending Review to address the funding gap facing councils, and temporarily remove the No Recourse to Public Funds condition, which would reduce public health risks and pressures on homelessness services by enabling vulnerable people to access welfare benefits, who are currently unable to do so because of their immigration status.

“In the longer term, we also need the Government to invest in homelessness prevention, give councils the powers to build the desperately-needed new generation of social housing the country needs and ensure that the local safety net is adequately resourced.”

Notes to editors

Councils in England face a funding gap of more than £5 billion by 2024 to maintain services at current levels - this figure could double amid the huge economic and societal uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The LGA’s detailed submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review  sets out how £10 billion is needed to not only plug this gap but meet growing demand pressures and improve services for communities.