When the lockdown for Covid-19 started there was much concern over the situation of the street homeless. The government made a request to local authorities to “get everyone in” and offered funding for this.
In Southampton, the City Council worked closely with the partner organisations forming the charter and has had great success not only in housing those on the street but in helping them move on to settled accommodation. Throughout the lockdown there has been joint work with the homeless health care team providing services to make sure that health concerns can be addressed on the street or in the B&Bs.
Liz Slater (Southampton City Council) and Claire Stagg (Two Saints) confirmed that
“Since March 23rd, the week of the government’s request to get “everyone in” off the street in response to Covid-19, we have accommodated 101 individuals who have been found rough sleeping in the city. Many went straight into homeless services in Southampton and 59 were placed in local B&Bs. Of those placed into B&B’s, 32 have since moved on into settled accommodation.
As lockdown starts to ease the partnerships are continuing to provide the emergency accommodation needed while that are actively working to find more settled accommodation.
Other organisations have supported this initiative by providing meals for those in B&Bs and hostels. Ben Thomas (Above Bar church) confirmed that during the period they produced 1889 lunches which have been given to those in hostels and a further 624 produced and given to those still on the streets over the 12 weeks of lockdown. The number of lunch packs given to those in hostels has gone down from around 45 at the peak to 18 now, as the people sleeping rough are either being housed or moving on.
Full figures of those helped in this period are shown below, which also include those helped into accommodation who would otherwise have ended up on the street , for instance those referred to Southampton City Council from prison release or hospital discharge without an address to go to.
- 79 service users housed into the Hostel Services since mid-March this year where they will be provided with support to help address their health and substance misuse issues
- 31 service users housed into Housing related support accommodation , which is more self-contained accommodation but with some support provided to help them maintain this accommodation.
- We have housed a small number of service users into Council flats.
- 6 service users were moved into separate accommodation to provide protection from Covid-19 where they have underlying health conditions that make them especially vulnerable to the virus protect.
- 18 service users assisted to move into Private Rented property.