Over the last two weeks, the council’s homeless outreach team has been stepping up its patrols to encourage anyone found sleeping rough to realise the danger they’re putting themselves in of contracting coronavirus by refusing the offer of shelter.
As is the case all year around, the help on offer includes getting access to a range of accommodation along with specialist support and the best possible chance of getting off the streets for good.
The council and its partners have been successful recently in supporting 24 rough sleepers into accommodation, including supported housing, social housing and bed and breakfasts, along with the provision of starter packs and essential food supplies to help them settle in.
In addition to linking people to specialist support the council, alongside social agencies and faith groups, is making sure rough sleepers remain looked after at this time.
Councillor Dr Erica Lewis, Leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “This has been a fantastic two weeks’ work by the team and our partners, particularly the police, who have worked tirelessly to engage with rough sleepers at such a crucial time to get them off the street and somewhere safe.
“Whilst there is always the danger of rough sleepers returning to the city centre during the day to socialise or beg for money, the council is asking for everyone who might come across someone who may be doing this to help us by refusing to offer money at this time and therefore provide little reason to return to the street.
“The council is working hard with all those who have been rehoused to link them with appropriate support services including help with access to food, to help keep them from needing to come back on to the street. Offering money and other donations also poses the risk of spreading the virus.”
If you want to help the city’s most vulnerable people at this time, the best thing you can do is to support the official urgent response fund for Lancaster District via www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/coronavirus. This has been set up to help provide financial assistance for those organisations that are supporting vulnerable people.
Anyone worried about someone who might be rough sleeping and not known to the council, can report this in the following ways:
- Call 01524 582257 during office hours (9am – 5pm - Monday to Friday)
- Out of office hours and weekends call 01524 67099
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Via StreetLink’s 24/7 phone line 0300 500 0914 or online at www.streetlink.org.uk
Anyone who thinks they may be in danger of becoming homeless should contact the council as soon as possible using the same number and email address. A member of our housing options team will be available to help them take preventative measures to avoid becoming homeless.
Last updated: 02 April 2020