Calls for more funding and compassion for Sheffield's homeless during lockdown

Rough sleepers will be offered a hotel room in Sheffield but campaigners say there needs to be more funding and compassion for them.

Monday, 30th March 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Monday, 30th March 2020, 4:22 pm

Sheffield Council says it will follow government guidelines that all homeless people are given a bed off the streets during the coronavirus crisis.

Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety Coun Paul Wood, said: “Following the recent government announcement requesting all homeless are provided suitable accommodation away from the streets, we have responded with an offer of a safe place for all rough sleepers with a hotel room in the city.

“The offer of accommodation will include individual sleeping arrangements as well as self-contained bathing facilities. Meals will also be provided directly to each person.”

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Rough sleepers in Sheffield are going to be offered a hotel room to stay in

Chrissy Meleady, an equality and human rights director, has been out on the streets day and night with homeless people.

She has been lobbying the Government, along with national homeless charities, to secure accommodation and support for them.

"I and my team members were doing the rounds again on foot yesterday and last night and I'm out again this morning checking on the rough sleepers and getting food and drink for them. They are vulnerable and at risk on the streets.

"I'll continue to make representation to Government to increase the funding allocated to local authorities because while this funding is welcome, it is not enough and Sheffield Council urgently needs more."

With the closure of shops and pubs on West Street and Division Street, homeless people are relocating to the area around Midland Station.

Ms Meleady said British Transport Police had shown them a lot of compassion and asked other people to do the same.

"I would like to make a plea that where accommodation has been found and offered, the same compassionate approach is given.

"Many are expressing fear and trepidation of heavy-handed actions against them. Increasing numbers of people passing them are shrinking from them and some are abusing them for fear that they may invade the two metre rule.

"We would urge people to reflect upon our vulnerable homeless people’s plight and to demonstrate compassion towards them. Sheffield must take a stance of not leaving anyone behind."