150 Shropshire children in temporary accommodation during first national lockdown

There were 150 children across the county living in temporary accommodation during the first national lockdown, new figures show.

Following the Government's announcement of a new £15 million package to support rough sleepers during the current lockdown, homeless charities have said they are frustrated at the piecemeal approach to funding.

Centrepoint, a charity supporting homeless young people, wants to see ring-fenced resources for under-25s, who they say have been hit the hardest by the pandemic.

Between April and June, 265 Shropshire households who were homeless or at risk of homelessness were placed in temporary accommodation – including 48 with children.

In the same time-frame 61 households in the same position in Telford and Wrekin were placed in temporary accommodation – including 29 with children.

This meant 101 Shropshire children and 49 Telford and Wrekin children were living in accommodation ranging from private housing to B&Bs.

For two families with children in Telford and Wrekin no accommodation was secured.

The Government said these households chose to make their own arrangements while the local authority found them longer-term accommodation.

Across the West Midlands there were 5,250 households in temporary accommodation in the period, including 3,830 with children.

Paul Noblet, Centrepoint's head of public affairs, said: "To keep rough sleepers safe this winter we need to see a level of focus and funding from the government which matches their initial response to the pandemic earlier this year.

Critical

"If we're to keep people safe this winter, we urgently need ministers to replicate the effective support that was rapidly put in place at the beginning of the pandemic."

Polly Neate, chief executive of homeless charity Shelter, said she hoped the Government's cash would stop people sleeping on the streets this winter.

She added: "It’s critical that access to safe accommodation is not a lottery in this pandemic, it must be there for everyone who needs it.”

Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: "The way we have protected rough sleepers from Covid-19 is widely considered to be the best in the world.

"At the start of the pandemic we launched Everyone In, which protected thousands of vulnerable people.

"That work hasn’t stopped and we’ve backed it with £700 million.

"As the new national measures come into force, I am launching the Protect Programme to ensure councils are offering everyone sleeping rough on our streets today somewhere safe to go – protecting people from the virus and moving forward with our goal of eliminating rough sleeping."

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