April 2020: Changes in relation to the Coronavirus Act 2020

The requirements of the homeless and people living on the streets, also need to be reflected in any local framework to support the Government’s COVID-19 emergency.  Practices that have been developed in local organisations to support homeless people need to be maintained and enhanced to reflect their needs, especially as this group has a high level of mortality, and support needs including mental ill-health and substance misuse which may present a barrier to self-isolation.

NHS trusts have a duty under the Homelessness Reduction Act (2017) to refer people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to a local housing authority. This statutory duty remains.  See also Annex E: Homelessness, Hospital Discharge Requirements.

Adults who are homeless with care and support needs may be vulnerable to abuse, whether they are rough sleeping, sofa surfing or in temporary accommodation. For example their lack of stable accommodation can leave them vulnerable to physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and their possessions vulnerable to theft.

Staff who work with adults who are homelessness should be aware of the increased possibility of safeguarding issues, be able to recognise the signs of potential abuse and to take action if they suspect that someone is being abused (see Responding to Signs of Abuse and Neglect).