MORE than 100 children in Swindon were living in temporary accommodation during the first UK lockdown, figures show.
After the government’s announcement of a new £15 million package to support rough sleepers during the current national measures, homeless charities have said they are frustrated at the piecemeal approach to funding.
Centrepoint, a charity supporting homeless young people, wants to see ringfenced resources for under-25s, who they say have been hit the hardest by the pandemic.
Between April and June, 189 Swindon households who were homeless or at risk of homelessness were placed in temporary accommodation – including 103 with children.
This meant 170 Swindon children were living in accommodation ranging from private housing to B&Bs.
Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show that 1.98 households per 1,000 in Swindon were in temporary accommodation between April and June.
The rate across the south west was below the average for England, with 1.58 families per 1,000 – England’s average was 3.39.
Across the region there were 3,860 households in temporary accommodation in the period, including 1,320 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.
“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.”
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick 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.”