Rise in the number of rough sleepers after Sheffield Council provides hotel accommodation
The number of people sleeping rough in Sheffield increased significantly after the Government said everyone would be offered emergency accommodation during the pandemic.
Councils were told to provide accommodation for rough sleepers with immediate effect during the first lockdown last March.
The council placed 196 people in emergency accommodation and secured housing for the majority. Seventeen remain in hotels as part of the initial Covid response.
Alongside this, the council said it would give an emergency bed to anyone rough sleeping throughout the winter regardless of the weather. Currently 38 people are in hotels as part of the winter plan.
There has been only one positive Covid case in the hotels since March 2020.
In a report, housing manager Zoe Young says: “Our existing emergency provision did not have capacity as the accommodation was required to have single en-suite rooms with catering facilities, or provide food, and be accessible for people with disabilities.
“The council block booked hotels and housing staff attend daily to provide support, additional security was also funded.
“The government estimated nationally the scheme would help 6,000 people. In fact, over 20,000 people were placed in this type of emergency accommodation across the country.
“In Sheffield, similar to elsewhere, the number of people found to be rough sleeping overall has significantly increased and the numbers out on any one night are reduced by the hotel provision we still have in place.”
Some people have been offered accommodation on numerous occasions but refuse to accept it or do not stay there consistently.
Day centres were closed initially but help on the streets included meals on wheels, a laundry service, public health advice, help with shopping for essentials and support for loneliness.
There’s wraparound support at hotels from drug, alcohol and mental health services plus medical care.
All staff working in hotels and on the streets have been vaccinated and vulnerable rough sleepers can be vaccinated at a clinic at the Archer Project.
Police have dealt with any persistent begging and congregating on the streets through advice and enforcement and have managed any issues at hotels.