Urgent update required to the Homeless COVID Strategy
- Recent increase in homeless deaths show updated Homeless COVID Strategy needed
- Government should ensure that there is an isolation bed for everyone who requests it
- People living in homeless accommodation or sleeping rough must be prioritised as a vulnerable person for vaccine
Labour Party Housing Spokesperson Senator Rebecca Moynihan has called for an updated Homeless COVID strategy with growing case numbers and community transmission at an all time high.
Senator Moynihan said: “As the country faces into another long lockdown and with freezing temperatures predicted over the next few weeks, Government need to ensure that homeless services have the beds and resources they need so no homeless person is put at a greater risk from either COVID or rough sleeping.
“During the Spring lockdown, homeless services worked incredibly hard to ensure that the virus didn’t sweep though the homeless population and they were successful in that. However, there is now real concern that people are sleeping rough or sleeping in tents because they feel it is safer than staying in hostels, leading to an increase in the number of homeless deaths we have seen this year.
“We need to ensure that everyone who needs an isolation bed gets one. No one should be forced to choose between not socially distancing or sleeping rough.
“Additionally, I am concerned at reports that homeless services are still in negotiations to ensure that the homeless population will be in early group for vaccinations. We know there are significantly worse health and life outcomes for people who are homeless, there should be no question that they should be should be treated high priority group in the vaccine roll out.”