Over 40 of Essex's rough sleepers have been provided with temporary accommodation to protect them from Covid-19.

Essex County Council has worked with borough councils to provide shelter for some of society;s most vulnerable members, the homeless.

Communal night-shelters and street-encampments are high risk environments for spreading coronavirus, and the new accommodation also protects those rough sleepers, who would be at high risk should they contract Coronavirus.

The move to temporarily house rough sleepers follows government instructions for local authorities to act.

Borough councils have provided accommodation in Harlow. Colchester, and Basildon with rough sleepers staying in a hotel, re-purposed vacant social housing and temporary accommodation.

Harlow Council has been working closely with charity Streets2Homes to encourage rough sleepers into accommodation.

Cllr Tony Ball, Essex County Council cabinet member for housing, said: “The work underway to offer accommodation, food and medical supplies is a substantial achievement and we would like to thank everyone who has ensured some of the most vulnerable have been protected.”

In Chelmsford, rough sleepers moved into hotel accommodation, with food delivered from local food banks.

Authorities will now co-ordinate efforts to prevent a return to rough sleeping and avoid begging. While a handful of rough sleepers have refused to come inside and a few people unknown to services claiming to be rough sleepers have come forward, great progress has been made.

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