Epsom & Ewell Borough Council has taken steps to ensure that rough sleepers continue to be safely accommodated over the winter.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, councils were instructed to provide emergency accommodation to protect rough sleepers and those at risk of rough sleeping under a programme known as ‘Everyone In’.
Epsom & Ewell Borough Council assisted 33 people through the Everyone In programme. This was provided in decent accommodation to alleviate the greater risk of the spread of the virus in a typical homeless shelter.
The council has now successfully bid for and received £157k from the Government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme. The programme helps with the next stage of the Covid-19 rough sleeping response by making sure those rough sleepers assisted will continue to have accommodation while the council seeks to secure longer term accommodation.
Epsom & Ewell is one of 274 councils that will receive a grant from this fund which can only be used to accommodate those already accommodated under Everyone In.
Councillor Barry Nash, Chair of the Epsom & Ewell Borough Council Community and Wellbeing Committee explained “The reasons for sleeping rough are different for each individual and can be complex and include mental health issues and drug and alcohol problems.
“Providing accommodation over the winter will allow us to provide more dedicated support to these individuals and plan a transition to longer term accommodation either in the private rented sector or in supported accommodation”.
The council originally accommodated 33 individuals under ‘Everyone In’ Of these, 24 are still accommodated. The other nine have either found alternative accommodation themselves, the council has moved them to longer-term supported accommodation or they have opted to leave.