Ending the ‘Everyone In’ scheme as the eviction ban and furlough finish may lead to a severe spike in homelessness, a charity from Hammersmith has claimed.
The director of Barons Court Project (BCP), a homeless charity based in Hammersmith & Fulham, believes ending the scheme will magnify a looming homelessness crisis.
BCP director Michael Angus said ‘Everyone In’ highlighted the flaws in the existing approach to homelessness and provided an alternative system.
He said: “We have known this all along. If you give someone a roof over their heads and a warm bed, they can turn their life around.”
A Freedom of Information request revealed Hammersmith and Fulham Council housed 275 people in the early stages of the pandemic.
The council provided people appliances to make their own food which Angus believes made all the difference.
As a result, many of them have been able to address issues and move forward as a result of this support.
Angus said he hopes society reassesses the way it views homelessness.
He added: “It can happen to anyone, and many of those with substance issues develop them after losing their home.”
A Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report claimed the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) vastly underestimates homeless numbers.
The MHCLG estimated 4,266 people were homeless in March 2020, but had housed 37,430 by January 2021.
Angus said: “They send someone out to count the number on a given night which is a very unscientific method.
“A lot of rough sleepers aren’t on the streets and don’t want to be seen in case they are attacked.”
The Home Office’s plan to deport non-UK homeless will only pour fuel on the fire, Angus added.
He said: “People will be afraid to come to us even though we don’t share their identities, and they will be afraid to seek medical attention.
“This approach is needlessly punitive and would cause a slew of additional problems.”
An MHCLG spokesperson said: “We have so far housed 37,000 people during the pandemic through our ongoing Everyone In initiative. And we expect councils to continue ensuring all rough sleepers are safely supported.
“We’re providing over £750 million this year alone to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.”