Coronavirus and Homelessness: how the government can do better

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The county of Nottinghamshire is home to some of the most deprived communities in the country, with areas in Nottingham East such as Sneinton and St Ann’s being ranked in the top 10% most deprived areas nationally. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic nearly 1000 families were threatened with homelessness during the first lockdown and with the colder months approaching, charities are calling on the government to do more to help keep these people safe.

It cannot be denied that efforts have been made to help deal with this issue, as the number of families in temporary accommodation has risen due to efforts by the likes of charities, councils and governments to provide shelter during the height of the pandemic in March. The government also pledged £700 million to tackle homelessness this year. 

However, in the wake of the ‘second wave’ concerns have been raised over what seems to be limited funding. Crisis, the homelessness charity has said that the money would ‘run out quickly’ and in the current climate, measures to help tackle homelessness during the pandemic were ‘not nearly as extensive as March, yet the threat from the virus remains the same’ 

These calls, combined with other groups pressing the government to allow rough sleepers to stay in reopened hotels are essential, as epidemiologists have warned that an incompetent approach to this issue could cost hundreds of lives this winter. 

So, whilst the government has a better understanding of the virus and the water seems less murky than it was in March in relation to the potential for a vaccine, when the government mantra returns to ‘stay at home to save lives’, it should not forget about those who do not have a home and lives, also need protecting. 

From extra funding, to extra food bank donations, the issue is not unsolvable and as the threat of the virus continues, the issue of homelessness in Nottingham and surrounding areas should be at the forefront of the local government’s agenda. 

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