Reinstate the 'Everyone In' scheme and make rough sleepers a vaccine priority group

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778 homeless people died in 2019, according to the ONS. Their average age was just 45.6. In 2017, when I was working with my university's homelessness campaign, my friend Vikki Cope, who was a rough sleeper and a poet, died. Four years later, the reality is that homeless people are still dying on our streets. 

The government's 'Everyone In' scheme during the first lockdown saved hundreds of lives, and prevented as many as 20,000 infections among the homeless, a study found. However, in January 2021 alone, the number of COVID-19 cases among the homeless was two times higher than the number of cases for the whole of 2020. 

Jon Sparkes, the CEO of Crisis, said funding is now being restricted to “restricted to specific regions and to people who are categorised as clinically vulnerable," and called for emergency accommodation for all those who need it. Other groups and charities including Homeless Link and Centrepoint have also called for this. 

With the cold weather and wintry conditions now creating additional challenges for rough sleepers, the government needs to act urgently and commit to getting everyone in again — before it's too late. 

We're calling on the government to:

  • Reinstate the 'Everyone In' scheme immediately and provide funding to local councils to urgently house all rough sleepers. 
  • Extend this scheme to all rough sleepers, including those with no local connection and no recourse to public funds (e.g. migrants).
  • Extend the 'Protect' scheme for areas with high homeless populations to cover the whole country.
  • Make rough sleepers a priority group for the vaccine and provide guidance to councils on making sure they are registered with a GP.
  • Conduct an urgent review into rough sleeping — the government committed to this in early 2020, and this has not yet happened. The National Audit Office says this needs to happen soon if the government is to meet its goal of ending rough sleeping by 2024.

Please sign and share — your signature could save lives. 

*This petition was initially created on the government's website but was rejected, with the government responding that it was providing enough homeless provision.