Living in hotels during lockdown: What's next for rough sleepers

When lockdown began three months ago, homeless people were moved off the streets and into emergency accommodation. For many it was a fresh start and a chance for social services to get a grip on so many complex personal situations.

However, a hotel in Worthing has become one of the first to end tenancies after issues with insurers, while towns and cities across our region are recording more people sleeping rough because of the lockdown. 

This hotel has been home for some rough sleepers during lockdown Credit: ITV Meridian

Jodie Haines prepares to leave the hotel which has become her home during lockdown. Jodie is a former victim of domestic violence, and feels her future is uncertain.

  • Jodie Haines

Councillors had hoped that 50 rough sleepers could remain here until the end of the month, yet after insurers intervened, they have become some of the first in the region who have been forced out.

Housing rough sleepers in hotels has given councils an invaluable opportunity to offer one to one support, yet now they are being dispersed, those chances to help falter, after Worthing's homeless population doubled within weeks of the lockdown.

Housing rough sleepers in hotels has given councils an invaluable opportunity to offer one-to-one support

They are people who's housing situation has started to break down under the stress of Covid issues - loss of job, mental health deteriorating, relationships breaking down, adult children with their parents, and it's just the usual factors, why we end up with rough sleeping, have been aggravated. But if we play this right, I believe what we've achieved in the last ten weeks in terms of rough sleeping, I believe we can make ten years progress. But we've got to play that right.

John Holmstrom, Chief exec, Turning Tides

  • Guy  Scotece The Porch

In nearby Brighton around ten newly homeless people have been reported each week during lockdown.

Charities in Oxford and Canterbury have been similarly concerned that the recession that is set to follow doesn't slow the progress that has been made.

We went from providing 50 meals, 50 meals a day to providing up to 200 people with a meal a day. Everyone's asking the question - what's going to happen at the end of July when the hotels are no longer providing hotel provision. I know the intention is there to try to help as many people as possible, but what happens, I'm not sure.

Guy Scotece, The Porch

  • Chris Burgess, Porchlight

The Government has said that £100 million will be spent trying to stop rough sleepers finding themselves back on the streets.

£100 million

Will be spent by the Government to prevent rough sleepers returning to the streets

By the weekend these residents were found temporary accommodation, but with the current ban on evictions ending in August, many more will need homes before this crisis is over.