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"Enough property" for Wiltshire's homeless during coronavirus pandemic

THE council has said it has enough accommodation to house all the homeless people and rough sleepers in Wiltshire.

Wiltshire council said that they “have enough property” to safely house all of the homeless people in the county.

This comes as the council urged B&Bs, hoteliers and Airbnb to offer accommodation to rough sleepers and sofa surfers during the pandemic.

Since launching the appeal last week, leader of the council, Cllr Philip Whitehead said that they have received a positive response, but “as we were only looking at about 20 rough sleepers in the first instance, we had no problem in satisfying that”.

He continued: “We have a number now lined up for the second stage which will be single accommodation and partnership breakdown.”

Cllr Whitehead also said that all of the county’s rough sleepers have been given accommodation, expect for three who “politely said no to it”.

Director of the Doorway Project in Chippenham, Jo Kitching said that it’s a great idea.

She said: “It’s also important for people who are currently sofa surfing. In these times mean that resources are even more scarce than they were before and if you’ve had someone sleeping on your sofa for the past six months, you might just get to the end of your tether and ask them to leave.

“It’s progress, it’s good because it needs to be taken seriously.”

In response, a council spokesman said: “We are aware of those sofa suffers who have registered for re-housing, however if they are part of a current household who are happy to continue to accommodate them we are encouraging them to stay with the current family to limit movement.”

“We continue to work with any client or family who find themselves with no home during this difficult time which is why we are looking for assistance to obtain more bed spaces to ensure that no one is left homeless.”

People are also urged anyone who may to register with the council so they can be provided with accommodation.

All businesses and individuals who take up the council’s call to provide emergency accommodation will be compensated.

For more information please contact homeless@wiltshire.gov.uk

By Matthew McLaughlin, Local Democracy Reporting Service

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