By Tony O’Riley-
Homelessness in Liverpool is on its way to being addressed after it emerged that rough sleepers during the lockdown could now be supported further by getting access the city’s vacant properties in a bid to prevent them from returning to the streets.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet is considering the transition in a decision that has been hailed by national homelessness charity Crisis Chief Executive Jon Sparkes told The Eye Of Media.Com: “ This is a good initiative and shows that were a concerted effort is applied to end homelessness, it is achievable. This plan provides clear evidence that homelessness can be ended for good.”
Shelter is credited with assisting millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness, providing free legal services to those who need it.
Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, Liverpool City Council has worked with partners like Housing Options to ensure temporary accommodation for those who needed it most.
In conjunction with the city’s hospitality industry, the City Council identified 180 single occupancy aparthotels and 50 other addresses for family groups, to keep people safe during the outbreak. The plan is to use it to house many rough sleepers in the county.
Liverpool was the first city to open an all-year-round rough sleeper hub, Labre House, which offered shelter to anyone regardless of their circumstances. As the coronavirus outbreak took hold Labre House was no longer a viable solution due to its communal nature.
The Council’s Homeless Recovery Plan has seen the council support around 220 people into emergency accommodation during the lockdown period.
The council is now looking to ensure that anyone moving out of emergency accommodation, where appropriate has the chance of a permanent home.
Prior to the lockdown, vacant social housing spaces across the city were advertised through the Property Pool Plus housing allocation scheme. Potential applicants bid for available properties with the tenancy being awarded in terms of priority.
The new plan means that the bidding system has been temporarily suspended and vacant properties will be made available to those moving on from hostel and hotel accommodation.
The Council has so far identified 370 cases which would benefit from the new system, whilst the housing associations have so far made more than 200 properties available of which more than half have been matched with suitable applicants
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Health and Social Care, Cllr Paul Bryant, said:“For too long the presence of rough sleepers on the streets has been a scar on the conscience of our nation. Liverpool Council is determined to stop a slide back to the pre COVID-19 position by default.
Working with housing charities and local social housing providers this scheme provides a piece of the jigsaw of measures which are being put in place. Resolving rough sleeping is a huge complex issue. I’m proud that Liverpool City Council is leading the way on this issue.