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UK News Coronavirus in Scotland: Homeless people to be offered empty houses, hotels and student halls

19:35  25 march  2020
19:35  25 march  2020 Source:   inews.co.uk

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a person walking down a sidewalk © Provided by The i

Empty homes, hotels and student halls of residence around Scotland will be made available for homeless people during the coronavirus pandemic, as the death toll continues to rise.

Councils and housing providers have drawn up plans to help and protect homeless people during the Covid-19 outbreak, as official figures showed six more people have died north of the border.

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The death toll in Scotland now stands at 22, with a further 51 people who have either tested positive for the virus or are displaying symptoms being treated in intensive care.

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Coronavirus pandemic. Image copyright Getty Images. Image caption Rough sleepers are thought to be more at risk of contracting the virus. Mr Burnham said: "The government needs to say today, at the daily briefing, that they are requiring local authorities to house all people sleeping rough and that

A number of TDs have called for empty properties to be requisitioned during the pandemic to tackle overcrowding in hostels. The banqueting manager in a major Dublin hotel , he is on a ventilin inhaler. “I called Parkgate Hall [DRHE]and was told effectively if I am that concerned I should stay in my car.

Nicola Sturgeon said the nation was experiencing a “rapid rise” in cases, with 719 people now confirmed as having the disease after more than 10,000 tests were carried out.

With pressure on the NHS expected to grow and everyone being told to stay at home to stop the spread, councils have been focusing on finding places to allow homeless people to self-isolate.

In Edinburgh, hotels, self-contained flats and student halls of residence have been identified to house those without a place to stay, with a dedicated team set up to co-ordinate relocations.

The group will also arrange for the delivery of care packages including food, as well as arranging support for rough sleepers considered to be “very vulnerable” to the virus.

In Glasgow, rough sleepers will be offered emergency accommodation after extra funding was secured from the Scottish Government. Several hotels in the city have also offered their assistance.

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Under Housing First, the offer of a home is unconditional. Even if someone is still taking drugs or abusing alcohol they still get to stay in the Official figures are based on the number of homeless people counted on the streets on a single autumn evening each year. Stars join in coronavirus fight.

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a bus driving down a busy city street © Provided by The i

Bus companies have seen a massive fall in passengers due to coronavirus (Photo: Transport Scotland)

Wheatley Group, Scotland's largest housing, care and property management firm, is also making empty homes available to local councils as temporary accommodation for the homeless.

Aberdeen City Council has launched a free crisis support line for those deemed to be most at risk, while in Dundee homeless people will be directed to temporary accommodation.

"This is clearly a very challenging time for our teams and our city so I’m pleased we’ve had a very positive response from the private sector to our appeal for extra accommodation,” said Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey.

Bus boost

In other developments, bus companies that have seen a massive fall in demand as people stop travelling to work are to be offered financial assistance from the Scottish Government.

Transport Scotland analysis shows that bus firms have seen the number of concessionary travel passengers – which include the over 60s – fall by 81 per cent since the start of the outbreak.

Usually firms are reimbursed for the amount of passengers actually using their services, but this year ministers will instead give them the funding they were expecting to receive before the virus hit.

Ms Sturgeon also announced the creation of a new expert group to provide extra scientific analysis of the impact of Covid-19 in Scotland, building on UK-wide data.

The group, chaired by Professor Andrew Morris of the University of Edinburgh, will help to inform national and local decisions taken throughout the course of the pandemic.

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