Date: 30 March 2020
West Berkshire Council helps accommodate rough sleepers across the district
West Berkshire Council and its voluntary sector partners have been working together to set up a task force to assist rough sleepers and those who are homeless in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Early in our response to the Coronavirus it was clear that a small number of homeless people and rough sleepers were unlikely to be able to safely self-isolate, and that this would be important to address given the advice from Government. With a strong track record, local homeless charities and statutory services have been coordinating efforts into an evolving delivery plan.
Our priority was to respond to the government’s advice and ensure that all rough sleepers and those sharing accommodation at Two Saints, our Emergency hostel, were housed as soon as reasonably possible. An increased effort was required to ensure that everybody was inside and safe by the weekend.
Councillor Hilary Cole, Executive Member for Housing at West Berkshire Council, said:
“We have been fortunate to form strong relationships with local hotel providers in the area who were keen to support vulnerable members of the community.
“Together with increased support from local charities and voluntary services, we have successfully accommodated 22 individuals into self-contained rooms. The 22 people comprised of 12 who were sleeping rough, 2 who presented as homeless and 8 individuals who were being accommodated in shared hostel accommodation.
“Whilst this situation is incredibly difficult for everyone, we are ensuring that on-going support is available to all of these individuals. They have access to Mental Health services, telephone support and food is provided by a number of charities on a daily basis, with regular contact being maintained between support workers and housing staff.
“Moving forward, we are taking this opportunity to ensure that everyone who has been accommodated has a Personal Housing Plan agreed with a member of the Council’s Housing Team. This will promote better relationships with each individual and allow for a more effective moving on process when Covid-19 is no longer a risk to the population.”