We have now closed this open letter and sent it to the Homelessness Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP. Both Shelter and Rhys really appreciate the huge number of people that have joined his call for Kelly Tolhurst to meet with him and discuss how to prevent a return to people sleeping on our streets - especially on the run-up to winter.
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Dear Homelessness Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP
Around 18 months ago I was living on the street. I know how unsafe it can be. But I also know how with a bit of stability and support, you can turn your life around.
It was good to see the government show compassion towards those sleeping rough by funding councils to offer them hotels during the pandemic. It saved lives. I want to thank you for that.
But I'm concerned by reports of street homeless people being turned away by councils or asked to leave hotels when they have nowhere safe to stay. This can’t be right. Does the latest government guidance allow councils to turn people away?
With the eviction ban ending in September, and if people are already being turned away by councils with nowhere else to go, hundreds of people will end up on the streets. I believe that with the pandemic still in general circulation, and local flare-ups like in Leicester still happening, people shouldn't be refused somewhere to stay safe!
I think you should make it clear to councils that everyone at risk of living on the streets should be offered accommodation during the pandemic.
I'd really like to meet with you to talk about your plan to make sure all street homeless people are safe during the pandemic and to thank you for what you’ve already done to help rough sleepers during this time.
You've shown you can listen and take action to change things. I hope you'll listen again.