The government is aiming to vaccinate those who are homeless and sleeping rough with the Protect and Vaccinate scheme, relocating people on the street to safe accommodation over winter
The government are boosting COVID-19 vaccines for rough sleepers and moving people into safe emergency accommodation over the winter with £28 million in government funding.
Announced on 21 December, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced The Protect and Vaccinate scheme to help to increase vaccine uptake among people who are homeless, as well as encouraging vaccine-hesitant people about getting their vital booster jabs.
Committing to ending rough sleeping
As the latest part of the government’s mission lessen the threat of the Omicron variant, people are being encouraged to get their vaccines and booster jabs – which continue to be the best way to protect against COVID-19.
So far, government progress has been made on commitment to end rough sleeping. The annual rough sleeping statistics from 2020 saw a 37% reduction from the year before.
Another project, the Everyone In initiative, assisted over 37,000 vulnerable people into emergency, long-term accommodation during the earlier stages of pandemic. This work further helps to take rough sleepers off the streets, as well as protecting their health.
By delivering mobile vaccinations to people who are sleeping on the streets, this further supports outreach work in shelters, educating people about the dangers of the virus. This initiative additionally gives money to councils which are providing safe accommodation while increasing vaccination uptake.
Rough sleeping levels have fallen 43% since 2017
As the UK has one of the highest uptake rates in the world – with over 85% of adults being double jabbed – the government still advises people that two jabs is not enough to protect people from the new Omicron variant. Although uptake is high, there are still thousands of people who haven’t yet had vaccines.
This can be seen with people in hard-to-reach communities, who are additionally being encouraged by targeted communications from councils, homelessness organisations, faith groups and charities to get vaccinated.
Minister for Rough Sleeping, Eddie Hughes, said: “In the wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases and a new variant, we have an even greater responsibility to protect vulnerable people.
“I’m very pleased to announce this funding today, to make sure as many people as possible are vaccinated and that councils can protect people sleeping rough and put a roof over their heads.”
Generally, the government is investing around £2 billion to tackle homelessness over the next three years.