LGBT+ shelter accuses council of forcing homeless queer person to sleep rough during lockdown because they weren’t a ‘priority’
London’s Westminster Council has been accused of sending a homeless queer person to sleep on the streets because they weren’t a “priority”, despite the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
The Outside Project, the UK’s first LGBT+ homeless shelter and community centre, said that the person forced to sleep rough had recently had spine surgery.
“[Westminster Council] send a member of our community to sleep on the streets this week saying that they weren’t in ‘priority need’,” The Outside Project tweeted on Friday (May 29).
“They recently had surgery on their spine and there is a global deadly pandemic.
“Westminster — what happened to following the ‘everyone in’ guidance?”
@CityWestminster send a member of our community to sleep on the streets this week saying that they weren’t in ‘priority need’. They recently had surgery on their spine and there is a global deadly pandemic. Westminster – what happened to following the ‘everyone in’ guidance? pic.twitter.com/vU8uvyCRZY
— The Outside Project (@LGBTIQoutside) May 29, 2020
The person is still having ongoing medical treatment, Carla Ecola from the Outside Project told PinkNews.
Ecola said they are a middle-aged queer who had been staying in government emergency accommodation.
When their stay in emergency accommodation ended, they were allegedly told that they weren’t in “priority need” so would not be housed any longer.
With nowhere else to go, they contacted the Outside Project – who they’d been in contact with before.
Coronavirus homelessness scheme ‘quietly wound up’.
This comes two months after mayor of London Sadiq Khan began offering hotel beds to rough sleepers to help protect them from coronavirus.
Around 300 rooms were initially made available to vulnerable people already known to homelessness organisations as part of an initial trial.
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Councils were given £3.2bn in March to fund this as part of the “Everybody In” scheme, which has housed more than 5,400 people.
But a leaked report last week indicated that ministers had “quietly pulled the plug” on funding the scheme.
And Khan warned this week that the funding for the coronavirus emergency programme to house all rough sleepers in hotels will run out in mid-June.
When it does, thousands of homeless people will be forced to return to sleeping on the streets, he added.
Around 1,400 people in London are reportedly currently staying in hotel rooms rather than on the streets.
Westminster Council has been contacted for comment.