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Coronavirus: Charity and council working to house rough sleepers in Harrogate

Coronavirus: Charity and council working to house rough sleepers in Harrogate

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Jacob Webster at 11:58am 31st March 2020.

A Harrogate homelessness charity is pushing ahead with its plans to protect all rough sleepers who have nowhere to call home during the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Harrogate Homeless Project is working with the borough council 
  • They want to house rough sleepers in hotels or B&Bs 
  • The charity says some people are being forced onto the streets because family members were self-isolating 
  • It's urging hotels and owners of other forms of accommodation to help

Harrogate Homeless Project is working with the borough council to move rough sleepers from the streets into hotels or bed and breakfasts – and if needed, somewhere to self-isolate.

It comes after several homelessness charities called on the government for more financial support in response to the outbreak – after expressing worries that shelters could become overwhelmed.

Liz Hancock, chief executive at Harrogate Homeless Project, said the number of people sleeping rough in the district has not dramatically increased – but added some people were being forced onto the streets because family members were displaying coronavirus symptoms.

She said:

“We work closely with Harrogate Borough Council to identify and monitor rough sleepers in the district – and when the Covid-19 crisis struck we were able to use that information to target people and inform them of what is on offer.”

The charity is now calling on hotels and owners of other forms of accommodation to offer their help.

Liz added:

“There has been a lack of bed and breakfasts and hotels in Harrogate offering their support which is proving very challenging. We are appealing to anyone who can help to get in touch on 01423 566900.

“But what we don’t want is people offering out their spare rooms – it just wouldn’t work with the obvious health risks involved.”

In an unprecedented move, the government asked all local authorities to house all people sleeping rough, and those in hostels and night shelters, before the weekend.

Also today a charity warned the coronavirus outbreak could increase the number of homeless young people in Yorkshire and the Humber.