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Over 100 rough sleepers housed in Reading 'at risk of becoming homeless' again

Over 100 rough sleepers housed in Reading 'at risk of becoming homeless' again More than 100 homeless people in Reading have been housed during the coronavirus crisis, although some have not taken up accommodation offers.

The government told councils they had until the end of March to accommodate rough sleepers, included those that may have had temporary accommodation (e.g. sofa surfers), amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) successfully placed 60 homeless people in accommodation on Friday, March 27 following the government’s directive the day before and have

Since then the council has placed a further 68 people in B&BS, hostels and other accommodation.

Councillor John Ennis, lead member for Housing, said: “The government have now given notice that this funding, which was very much welcome, is going to end.

“This will put pressure on the council’s funding and its support to make sure 128 people are not released as homeless.

“If that funding ends and that pressure goes onto the council, then people are at risk of sleeping rough or being street homeless.

“It wouldn’t be because this council is not prepared to assist them. It would be because the pressure would be so great that we could not afford to do that unless we put ourselves in a very difficult situation financially.

“There will be a major effort by this council to ensure the 128 are found permanent accommodation.

“There is already work with the housing partners to ensure that takes place but that will be a major challenge.”

The Government has so far announced two rounds of £1.6bn funding for councils to meet additional costs from the coronavirus crisss, with Reading getting £8.3million in total.

A large amount of this money is focused on funding adult and children’s social care services, with the funds also providing support for rough sleepers and those who are vulnerable or at financial risk during the crisis.

In other coronavirus-related news, the One Reading Community Hub is now shut on Sundays, but will remain open Monday – Saturday, from 9am to 5pm, except for bank holidays.

By Local Democracy Reporter Service reporter, Tevye Markson

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