Children without their own home during lockdown in Preston

Dozens of children in Preston were living in temporary accommodation during the first UK lockdown, figures show.

By Mike Hill
Thursday, 12th November 2020, 12:30 pm

Following the Government's announcement of a new £15 million package to support rough sleepers during the current lockdown, homeless charities have said they are frustrated at the piecemeal approach to funding.

Centrepoint, a charity supporting homeless young people, wants to see ring-fenced resources for under-25s, who they say have been hit the hardest by the pandemic.

Between April and June, 97 Preston households who were homeless or at risk of homelessness were placed in temporary accommodation – including 17 with children.

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During the first lockdown 97 Preston households who were homeless or at risk of homelessness were placed in temporary accommodation

This meant 44 Preston children were living in accommodation ranging from private housing to B&Bs.

Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show that 1.66 households per 1,000 in Preston were in temporary accommodation between April and June.

The rate across the North West was below the average for England, with 1.56 families per 1,000 – England's average was 3.39.

Across the region there were 4,940 households in temporary accommodation in the period, including 2,390 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.”

Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, 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."