Homelessness minister Luke Hall has called on councils to encourage rough sleepers to move in with family and friends amid the ensuing pandemic.
Last month it was revealed that the Ministry for Communities, Housing and Local Government had quietly scrapped a scheme to put homeless people up in hotels under its ‘Everyone In’ policy.
In a letter to local authorities seen by Inside Housing, Conservative MP Luke Hall requested that councils set out next-step support plans for rough sleepers housed during the pandemic within seven days.
He asked that when considering move-on accommodation options, councils should “seek to encourage people, where appropriate and possible, to return to friends and family”.
The comments have been met with uproar on social media, with James Felton sarcastically saying: “Why stop there when you could encourage them to be billionaires?”
Others pointed out that homeless is “not a lifestyle choice”, while Mike Rodgers said: “I’m sure none of them have thought of that before”.
It was revealed today that the number of families with children receiving emergency food parcels in the UK has almost doubled in a year.
April was the busiest month ever for Trussell Trust’s food banks, with an 89 per cent increase in emergency food parcels delivered across the UK compared with the same month in 2019.
And the number of parcels provided for children has more than doubled, while almost twice as many families with children are receiving them (a 95 per cent rise).
The figures are taken from responses from 351 of the 425 food bank charities in the Trussell Trust network.
Demand during pandemic “completely unprecedented”
The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN), which represents over 346 independent food banks, has reported a 175 per cent increase in need over the same period.
They have called the soaring demand during the coronavirus pandemic “completely unprecedented”.
A coalition of charities is calling for the Government to provide more funding for councils so they can quickly get cash to families through a temporary emergency income support scheme.
They include the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), the Children’s Society, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), StepChange and Turn2us.
They are worried that when Government support such as the job retention scheme starts to wind down, families will fall into poverty.
As part of the proposed scheme, benefits for families with children would increase, the benefit cap would be lifted and no deductions would be taken from advance payments.