A Lichfield councillor has said it is “absolutely essential” that rough sleepers aren’t forced back onto the streets when coronavirus crisis ends.
Councils across the UK have moved people into accommodation as part of the country’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
But with lockdown measures now easing there are concerns people will again be left without somewhere to sleep.
Cllr Paul Ray, the Liberal Democrat representative for Chadsmead, said he was hopeful Lichfield District Council would be able to keep people off the streets.
“The COVID-19 crisis has been very difficult for our community and country, and as we move forward the impact that it will have on the economy and people’s jobs is a real concern.
“There has though been one positive aspect of the crisis – it has been great to see that our rough sleepers have been properly housed.
“However, it is absolutely essential that that continues now that lockdown is ending so that our rough-sleepers do not have to return to our streets.
“We have had at least seven rough sleepers in Lichfield and I have previously raised with Doug Pullen, the Conservative leader of Lichfield District Council, the issue around specific plans are to continue to provide them with housing.
“Cllr Angela Lax who is the cabinet member with responsibility for this area has confirmed that as lockdown is now being eased, most of our rough-sleepers will continue in accommodation – and the council are actively discussing options with the others.
“I am grateful for the actions that Lichfield District Council have taken to date – but at the same time stress that it is absolutely essential that the solutions that have been found continue long term.”Cllr Paul Ray, Lichfield District Council
“A very important issue for our community”
Lichfield District Council has launched a new strategy to help tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.
Cllr Ray said that it was important all factors around the issue of why people are on the streets are tackled.
“I know that this is a very important issue for our community and a number of residents have specifically raised this with me.
“There are a number of aspects that are relevant to this issue including mental health and drug and alcohol abuse but housing is the fundamental issue.
“If we do not provide these individuals with proper housing there is no way we can resolve this issue and help them long term.”Cllr Paul Ray, Lichfield District Council