Our campaigning around COVID-19 and Homelessness

Our campaigning around COVID-19 and Homelessness
17th June 2020 Jessica Turtle

Our campaigning around COVID-19 and Homelessness

Since the onset of the pandemic, Museum of Homelessness has been campaigning extensively to protect the rights of homeless people and push for greater provision from Government. This has happened in 3 stages:

MHCLG submission – 30 April

On 30th April 2020, Museum of Homelessness, The Magpie Project, The Outside Project and Streets Kitchen submitted joint evidence to the MHCLG inquiry into the response to COVID19 and homelessness. In the submission we outline our findings from directly supporting homeless people throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Our work found:

  1. Significant gaps in the provision of accommodation
  2. Significant failures with Street Link – the primary channel for referrals
  3. Failures of support services when people receive accommodation – including around food provision and PPE use
  4. Counter-productive public messaging resulting in the abuse of homeless people
  5. Evidence of a significant increase in homelessness caused by COVID-19

We conclude by identifying recommendations to address both the near term challenges faced by homeless people and the structural issues causing homelessness, which are made more severe by Covid-19.

You can read the full submission here. MHCLG response corona and homelessness inquiry 30.04

Open Letter to Robert Jenrick MP (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)

In late May, MoH joined forces with Haringey Migrant Support Centre to co-write a letter which was signed by more than 60 front line community led groups and charities. It was also been signed by our Patron, The Rt. Rev the Lord Bishop of Salisbury.

Together we wrote to Robert Jenrick MP outlining our concerns with government plans to end the Everyone In policy and highlighting weaknesses in the current strategy to end homelessness.

Responding to a statement by MHCLG on Sunday 24th May, The letter calls on government to ensure that all homeless people will benefit from an extended Everyone In policy, including people with No Recourse to Public Funds who make up a large proportion of the rough sleeping population but who are currently not set to be provided for under the plans. The letter asks for NRPF rules to be urgently lifted in to ensure that thousands are not forced to return to the streets when the hotels close.

In addition, we are calling on the government to urgently clarify what will happen to the large numbers of people who are becoming newly homeless given the ongoing economic impacts of Corona Virus.

We outline grave concerns regarding winter provision, which is set to be vastly reduced due to public health requirements this year. The church halls and community centres usually used to house the majority of people who are rough sleeping will no longer be an option due to public health measures. Without action now this could be a humanitarian disaster, leaving people sleeping rough at significant risk of exposure during the colder months.

The letter acknowledges the huge achievement of accommodating more than 5,000 people in hotels, but calls for more funding and more flexible rules on homelessness duty to allow local authorities and the homelessness sector to properly address the devastating and ongoing impacts of Corona Virus on homeless and migrant communities both immediately and in the longer term.

You can read the full letter here: Open Letter to Robert Jenrick MP_Final

If you want to add your support to the letter click here!

Follow-up Letter – mid June

Most recently we supported and signed a letter from nearly 100 groups, councillors and lawyers calling for Local Government responses to protect  to protect migrant lives during & after this public health crisis. The letter asked local councils to be prepared to take a stand by offering sanctuary. Nobody should be forced to sleep rough for want of the right papers.’

You can read the latest letter here.

#NoOneLeftOut

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