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Salvation Army warns that homelessness in London could 'skyrocket' in autumn

by Cara Bentley
Homeless-person-on-the-street-thumb_galleryfull.jpg - Banner image

The charity and church The Salvation Army is warning that government Covid support that ends in the Autumn could cause rough sleeping to increase massively, even though figures showed a drop in homelessness since last year. 
A report released this week shows that 1,177 people in London were new rough sleepers between April and June 2021 - 45 per cent of the total number, 2,589. 
This is a drop of 56 per cent in new rough sleepers compared with the same period last year. However, The Salvation Army believes the underlying trend is for figures to rise after Covid-19 support measures like furlough end in the autumn, which could cause a rise in unemployment and home repossessions.

At the start of August, the furlough scheme began tapering off, with the expectation that there will be redundancies. 
Hilarie Watchorn, The Salvation Army's assistant director of Homelessness Services, said: "The Government has made a good start by investing over £3 million to help people transition from the 'Everyone In' emergency accommodation scheme to stable accommodation but there is an urgent need for more investment. 

"If the Government is to meet its commitment to put an end to homelessness by the end of this Parliament it must invest in services to help people tackle the reasons they have been made homeless in the first place which can include unemployment, poor physical or mental health and addiction."

She added that many night shelters will be unable to operate because of the need for single rooms to help stop the spread of Covid.
The church and charity is calling for stable, long-term shelter for those who were helped last year as part of the 'Everyone In' campaign, support for those with a complex history to help them with poor mental health or addiction and consistent funding to help local authorities plan. 

The Salvation Army also wants to see official recording methods for rough sleeper numbers across the country. 

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