What will happen to the homeless in Welwyn Hatfield when lockdown ends?
PUBLISHED: 07:01 27 May 2020
At the end of March councils were given two days notice to find accommodation for all rough sleepers to help them self-isolate safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
This paper asked Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council about the details of this, including what will happen to those in accommodation when lockdown ends.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “Five hotels have been used, and at any time there have been approximately 30 applicants in hotel accommodation, fluctuating slightly around that number as people move in and out.
“We are not aware of any rough sleepers who are not being housed. We have received several referrals from the public and after our outreach team have made contact, accommodation has been provided. There are no patrols, but each referral is investigated within 24 hours. We have not turned any rough sleepers back on to the streets.”
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Those with addictions are being housed and the council said that they are working closely to support those with underlying issues.
The spokeswoman continued: “With regards to future plans, we are continuing to work on plans to ensure that the outcome for each individual is settled, stable accommodation. That will come in many forms, depending on the circumstances of the individual. The aim is to use this period as an opportunity to assist people into accommodation, which allows them to get the stability which they might not have had for some time.
“We do not have contracts with expiry dates, but ongoing relationships which are currently working very well and there is no reason to believe that those arrangements will end soon.
There are ongoing conversations with regards to the funding for several projects that have had to be undertaken since the start of the COVID pandemic. There are a number of funding streams – including direct central government grant, grant via Herts County Council and housing benefit – which help offset the initial costs. We are not able to provide an accurate cost until these claims have been fully settled.”
READ MORE: Community centre used to house homeless in Hatfield
Although a draft recovery framework document shown in a cabinet meeting this month stated that with regards to homelessness: “the financial pressure to the
council is about £300k, about £100k of this is covered by the homelessness grant”.
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