The council have committed to offering support to the city's homeless during the second nation-wide lockdownLouis Ashworth

Cambridge City Council has committed to support Cambridge's homeless during the second lockdown, promising accommodation, an extended outreach service and physical and mental health support, until April 2021.

In March, 140 people were able to isolate in emergency accommodation, including council properties and empty college accommodation. Since then, 76 have been moved to long-term housing and 60 remain in emergency accommodation.

The council detailed in a press release to Varsity that they are "ensuring that all of the support services available earlier in the year remain in place during the second lockdown" including access to washing facilities, food, and health support, alongside face coverings and hand sanitisers.

Councillor Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing, said in the press release: "Now we are in a second lockdown we remain focused on working with local charities, faith groups and volunteers to provide accommodation for those who had been living on the streets.If someone is in need we are here to help them with their housing situation and support any health or personal issues they may have."

This announcement comes as the charity Shelter called for a revival of the ‘Everyone In’ policy from the first lockdown, which provided accommodation to the UK's 15,000 rough sleepers and, according to a UCL study, saved tens of thousands of people from being infected with Covid-19. Chris Wood, Assistant Director of Research at Shelter, reinforced that "no one should fall through the cracks this winter."

An open letter published by doctors and campaigners across the country had warned the government in October of the high death toll that may follow without this policy being reinstated.

In March, King’s College responded to the council’s guarantee of housing for all rough sleepers by allowing 20 rooms in their Bene’t Street Hostel to be used until August, since no students were living in this accommodation at the time. 

Although, with this accommodation currently in use by students, the same offering cannot be made during this second lockdown. A spokesperson for the Cambridge Homeless Outreach Programme (CHOP), which aims to ‘break down the divide between the student and homeless communities in Cambridge,’ told Varsity that “given the resources of the University and colleges, it is disappointing that these resources are not being used.”

A spokesperson for CHOP also said that, “If colleges adopted a policy of allowing students to leave, particularly international students who are anxious to not be stuck in Cambridge, there would be greater scope to free up accommodation as they did in April.” They have called for the colleges, as “richer institutions in Cambridge, [to] come up with solutions to help the homeless communities.”

A building that was previously used as student accommodation in the North of the city will be used as emergency housing until the end of March. The building, according to a spokesperson of the council, is "large enough to allow us to locate support services actually in the building means we can work much more intensively with the people we are supporting."


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It has since been revealed by Cambridge Live that "hundreds of families could be made homeless" as the eviction ban which was in place earlier this year has not been renewed. As a result, there may be far higher demand for Council housing than there is available.

In January, Cambridge was revealed to be the UK’s most unequal city; with the lowest 20% of earners accounting for just 2% of the city's generated income, suggesting that many residents of Cambridge will experience financial anxiety, and potentially fears of eviction and homelessness, over the coming months.