ROUGH sleepers must be housed by this weekend – the government has told local authorities.

City of York Council says people who are still sleeping outside can get beds, food and support through the coronavirus crisis – City of York Council says.

Luke Hall, from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, wrote to all councils on Friday asking for help to “make sure that we bring everyone in”.

He said councils should stop homeless people from “congregating in facilities such as day centres and street encampments where there is a higher risk of transmission”.

And that where possible – people with serious drug and alcohol problems should be housed separately from those who do not.

The letter says: “Our strategy must be to bring in those on the streets to protect their health and stop wider transmission, particularly in hot spot areas, and those in assessment centres and shelters that are unable to comply with social distancing advice.

“This approach aims to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on people facing homelessness and ultimately on preventing deaths during this public health emergency.”

Earlier this week City of York Council announced it is offering homeless people who are already in its resettlement scheme single rooms to stay in during the coronavirus outbreak.

Today, Friday, Cllr Denise Craghill said: “People sleeping rough in the city are among the most vulnerable in the city and it is important for their immediate and long-term health to get them into accommodation.

“We have accommodation for those who are still outside. From there, we can provide them regularly with food and support for their other needs.”

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