70 rough sleepers and homeless people helped in Hartlepool during pandemic
More than 70 rough sleepers and homeless people were helped by council chiefs in Hartlepool as part of support provided to help tackle Covid-19.
Bosses at Hartlepool Borough Council said from the end of March to the start of June a total of 73 homeless people were recorded by the housing advice team.
The majority were supported into short term leases through either the private or social rented sector with advice, guidance and support from housing officers.
Council officers also worked with Families First North East to make Melbourne Hotel in Stockton Road available for accommodation for those in need.
The site offered six rooms available 24 hours per day for the provision of supported accommodation for vulnerable people or families who were homeless or found rough sleeping.
In total four single males, one single female and one family were accommodated at the site, which offered 24 hour security, meals, support with prescriptions, medical advice, help with online claims and recreational activities.
The cost for the local authority of the provision at Melbourne Hotel was £57,613, and council officers said the ‘vast majority’ of this came from the 24 hour staffing arrangements to provide support needed.
The arrangements came after government ministers at the end of March declared local authorities across the country should identify rough sleepers and ‘get everyone in’ and under a roof for the duration of the lockdown.
A report to go before Hartlepool Borough Council Finance and Policy Committee from council director of children and joint commissioning services Sally Robinson outlined the help offered and work done by the council.
She said: “The decision to provide accommodation for those experiencing homelessness improves their life chances and builds pathways out of poverty.
“The provision of the accommodation at the Melbourne Hotel ensured that for those people who required this type of accommodation, provision was swiftly put in place that would meet their needs.
“It was fortuitous that the Melbourne Hotel was vacant and these arrangements were able to be mobilised so swiftly, without this provision those Hartlepool individuals who accessed this support would have been in much greater need and danger.
“Other individuals were considered for referral to the Melbourne Hotel but not moved in due to the outcome of the risk assessment.”
Others in need were provided with accommodation through the commissioned provision in Hartlepool such as Sanctuary, Scott Grange or Rose House, if they met the criteria, and the remainder were supported to stay with family or friends.
Officers added all costs have been covered from government grant funding provided to the council specifically to cover the Covid-19 response.
The report will be discussed by Hartlepool Borough Council Finance and Policy Committee on July 13 at 10am.