8th Apr, 2020

Homelessness prevention advice suspended at Coventry Council as coronavirus limits services

John Carlon 26th Mar, 2020 Updated: 27th Mar, 2020

COUNCIL advice to residents at risk of homelessness has been scrapped, as the city reduces services in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The council provides guidance to people facing financial issues which could make them homeless, but it will now only deal with emergency cases.

Rough sleepers and people who are vulnerably housed at are particular risk during the pandemic, as the government has told the nation to ‘stay at home.’

It is hoped the ‘social distancing’ advice will stop the highly contagious flu spreading more rapidly.

But families who are without a home are left with no place to self-isolate.

Housing charity Shelter has estimated as many as 20,000 eviction notices are already before the courts nationwide.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Last week the government’s commitment to a temporary ban on evictions made renters across the country feel safer in their homes.

“But in the next three months as many as 20,000 eviction proceedings already in progress will go ahead, this means many vulnerable people could still lose their home in the coming weeks, and even more may face eviction by mid-June.

“We need a wholesale and complete halt to all evictions so that no-one is left without a home during this public health emergency.”

Changing its homelessness prevention service, the council said: “Due to the changing national picture for coronavirus, there is a change to our homelessness service.

“Only if you have nowhere safe to stay call 024 7683 4025. We will not be taking other enquiries at this time.”

Responding to the Observer, a spokesman for Coventry Council said: “We are limiting face to face contact between customers and ourselves to ensure we can continue to provide our statutory duty whilst protecting our staff in the Homelessness Prevention Service.

“We can carry out our duties by phone and would urge people to call us first if they have no safe place to stay.

“There is overnight accommodation available for people who are homeless. For rough sleepers we are working with our support services to ensure they can self-isolate.”

Coventry Council added it would resume phone consultations for prevention on March 30.

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