Lorrita Johnson, Director of Homelessness Services said:
“This winter is set to be one of the worst for rough sleepers in many years and today’s announcement will only make matters worse.
“Regardless of nationality we strongly urge the Government to show compassion by treating rough sleepers as individuals and supporting them into safe and suitable accommodation. This is more important than ever, with Covid-19 continuing to place people sleeping rough at risk of serious illness.
“Everyone who is forced to sleep on the streets is an individual who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. At The Salvation Army we will first try and temporarily house them and then help them overcome the complex reasons why they ended up on the streets in the first place which can be anything from losing their livelihood, mental ill health or battling an addiction. There is also the very real issue that many people have ended on the streets as a result of conditions beyond their control and risk exploitation if they are not provided with the vital help to have a roof over their head.
“Part of the Government support package could end up with some choosing to return to their home country at their request and not because they are being forcibly removed.
“The Government needs to focus less on determining how it will round up and remove rough sleepers and more on providing enough emergency funding to stop people freezing to death this winter coupled with enough long-term funding to ensure it meets its own target to end rough sleeping by the end of the next parliament.”