The Liberal Democrats have today called on the Government to “equip Tower Hamlets
Council with the financial resources needed” to accommodate all rough sleepers locally.
The call comes in response to reports that the Government has written to local councils
asking them to find homes for all rough sleepers by the weekend to protect them from the
Liberal Democrats have consistently been campaigning for a clear strategy to protect
homeless people from catching coronavirus, including calling for empty offices and hotel
rooms to be requisitioned to ensure homeless and other vulnerable people can self-isolate.
According to the latest official figures although the true scale of the problem is likely to be
much worse, 4,266 people across England and 17 in Tower Hamlets Council were estimated
to be sleeping rough on a single night in autumn 2019.
Cllr. Rabina Khan, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council said:
“The Coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat. It is leaving the most vulnerable in our
communities at risk.
“The Government must equip Tower Hamlets Council with the financial resources needed to
provide sufficient secure emergency accommodation to meet demand.
“Ministers must also make specialist support available to those who struggle with addiction
or other mental health issues, as is the case for so many people sleeping rough right across
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran added:
“It is right that the Government is taking urgent action to find secure accommodation for
rough sleepers, as Liberal Democrats have called for since this crisis began.
“Ultimately, this announcement must be the first step towards long term efforts to end rough
sleeping, not just in the face of the current crisis. The Government can make that
commitment today by supporting my Bill to scrap the Vagrancy Act, repealing a Dickensian
law which needlessly criminalises rough sleepers.”