Homelessness and rough sleeping responses to coronavirus 

Coronavirus is an unprecedented public health crisis and the council is working with partners to maintain essential services, including our responses to prevent and relieve homelessness and rough sleeping. 

We are facing rapidly changing circumstances and are guided by Public Health England advice on how we can contribute to reducing the spread of the virus. The unprecedented challenges and the changing demands will mean that at times we will have to ask for your patience and that we will not be able to respond to some inquiries as quickly as we’d like to. We know that you will appreciate that this is because we are prioritising responding to residents’ current challenges and preparing to meet new challenges we expect to face. 

In addition to contributing to reducing the spread of the virus, we are working to:

  • Maintain our existing statutory homelessness assessment and coordination functions – we aim to maintain face to face advice because residents are understandably anxious and want to talk to someone about their concerns 

  • Maintain existing commissioned provision (770 rooms) and try to reduce evictions – we are maintaining our homelessness accommodation services 

  • We are working to increased move-on from our homeless accommodation to free up spaces to help us respond to the likely increased demand 

  • Secure additional accommodation – to prepare for the reduction of our current accommodation services and to increased demand 

  • Secure bed and breakfast accommodation if our current supply reduces or if demand increases and we cannot secure additional accommodation 

To date we have managed to keep our services open including our daily outreach to contact people sleeping rough and our assessment and accommodation services. The increased demands created by the pandemic and the subsequent reductions in staffing to respond does mean that we may have to compromise on providing accommodation choices, in the interest of not compromising on health and safety. To date we have not had to reduce our commitment to respond to offer every eligible person the offer of safe accommodation or reconnection and to consider everyone’s individual circumstances. 

We will keep you updated of any changes in response to increased demands and reduced service supply. 

If you are concerned about anyone’s risk of homelessness you should check our website here: https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/homelessness