In the first lockdown, rough sleepers were helped off the streets into emergency accommodation.
There is no doubt that this decisive move saved lives.
At the time, ministers made impressive announcements that the government would “end rough sleeping for good”. Sadly, the gains from the spring seem to have been lost as rising numbers of people are once again sleeping on the streets.
What has changed? “It seems the government has turned its back on protecting rough sleepers this winter, with dramatically reduced funding and none of the coordination that it offered back in March. Meanwhile, temperatures are falling and rising COVID-19 rates mean many homeless shelters are unable to safely accommodate the people they would normally take.
Yesterday I asked housing minister Kelly Tolhurst to urgently get a grip of this situation. I was disappointed with her response.
We are in extraordinary times, and we need to make extraordinary efforts to end homelessness now. I worry that inaction will have a tragic human cost.
Watch the full exchange here.