The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced £2.9bn in funding to help strengthen care for vulnerable people, including those homeless in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Allocated to local authorities and the NHS, the funding will help patients who no longer need urgent hospital treatment to return home, making at least 15,000 beds available during the outbreak.
£1.6bn will go to local authorities to help them respond to other pressures across all the services they deliver.
This includes increasing support for the adult social care workforce and for services helping the most vulnerable.
The remaining £1.3bn will be used to enhance the NHS discharge process so patients who no longer need urgent treatment can return home safely and quickly.
This is expected to help free up 15,000 hospital beds across England and ensure more staff have capacity to treat people needing urgent care, including those being cared for with Coronavirus.
Additionally, the funding will cover the follow-on care costs for adults in social care, or people who need additional support, when they are out of hospital and back in their homes, community settings, or care settings.
It comes as part of the £500bn Coronavirus fund announced in the Budget.
Responding to the announcement, Rick Henderson, CEO of Homeless Link said: “People who are homeless are some of the most vulnerable in our society, and this population is facing severe danger during the COVID-19 outbreak, as they are often relying on communal night shelters, hostels with shared sanitation, or sleeping on the streets.”
He added that now that the country is in a lockdown period, every local authority area should now move quickly to ensure that:
- No-one is sleeping on the streets
- No-one is sleeping in a communal setting or using shared sanitation facilities
- Local services can arrange people into appropriate groupings to prevent risk
- Everyone who needs to self-isolate in line with government guidance is able to do so
- Staff have the access to testing and the Personal Protective Equipment that they need to operate safely
Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick said: “The work of local authorities to deliver social care and other vital public services has never been more important than it is now – and will be – in the days and weeks ahead.
“That’s why we’re giving local councils £1.6bn of additional funding to spend where it’s needed most, to ensure they can meet the cost of the increased demand for social care, and continue to protect the most vulnerable people in society.”