Eighteen rough sleepers housed in Bradford because of virus

The council says it's a priority.

Eighteen rough sleepers in Bradford have been moved to temporary accommodation since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yesterday local authorities across the country were told to find accommodation for all their rough sleepers by the weekend.

But Bradford Council said work had been well underway to achieve this before yesterday’s announcement.

Rough sleepers in Bradford have been housed in bed and breakfasts and other housing placements, with community groups working to provide them with regular food and medication.

And those refusing to be homed could be subject to enforcement action.

Dame Louise Casey, the government’s homelessness advisor, wrote to Councils to say night shelters and street camps should be closed down to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus.

She said Councils will be offered Government support to find a place for the homeless.

People across the UK have been ordered to remain at home since Monday evening.

But those who sleep on the streets have no way of self isolating, and often have risk factors like respiratory conditions that make them more vulnerable to Covid 19.

In a statement released yesterday, after the government announcement, Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, portfolio holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We have been aware, from the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, that Bradford Council would have to provide support for the most vulnerable people in our district and are making this our priority.

“Not everyone one can self isolate and not everyone has a regular place they can call home

“This is why we made a decision to provide temporary accommodation for all rough sleepers, regardless of their support needs and eligibility, before today’s (Friday’s) Government announcement.

“Our commissioned service Bradford Homelessness Outreach Partnership has been working with known rough sleepers in the district and moving them into temporary accommodation.

“As of this morning, 18 rough sleepers have been supported into temporary accommodation.

“We are using B&B provision within the city to meet this current need, however, we are also working with Concept Housing, our Crisis to Permanent accommodation provider, to source self-contained units in which to transfer those placed with immediate effect.

“The HOP are liaising with our voluntary service partners to coordinate deliveries of food supplies and medication for those placed in accordance with current lockdown/self isolation policy.

“They are also liaising with West Yorkshire Police to encourage rough sleepers who are refusing our offer of accommodation, which may include taking enforcement measures, to ensure they get the protection they need from coronavirus.”

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