A £6m fund has been opened for homelessness charities in England dealing with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Homelessness Response Fund is being funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, using money from the government’s package of support for the charity sector. It will be distributed by Homeless Link, the membership body for frontline homelessness charities.
Grants will be available to charities with an annual income of under £5m, and where more than half their beneficiaries are homeless people.
Two weeks to apply
Applications to the fund opened yesterday and will close in two weeks on 27 May, with grants available worth between £10,000 and £100,000. Successful applicants will receive payments next month.
The grants are intended to alleviate the financial impact of Covid-19 on charities, and to help them provide new or adapted services to homeless people affected by the pandemic, according to the government’s guidance.
Charities will also need to show that their free reserves are forecast to cover less than three months’ running costs by the end of the financial year.
Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, said: “We are pleased to be managing this fund on behalf of the government to ensure that critical emergency finances reach the frontline charities that need it the most.
“Services have been working incredibly hard, in innovative ways and under difficult circumstances. This fund will enable charities to continue their vital work in supporting people experiencing homelessness through this pandemic and beyond.”
Luke Hall, minister for homelessness, said: “Protecting the most vulnerable people in society during these unprecedented times remains our absolute priority. That’s why we’re giving frontline homelessness charities an extra £6m during this national emergency.
“They are working tirelessly to support those without a home all over the country and this funding will help them protect people when they need it most.”
Pressure on homeless services
A statement from Homeless Link acknowledges that many homelessness charities could be forced to cut services, lose staff or close down entirely, as a result of the financial crisis for the charity sector caused by the pandemic.
The announcement comes amid some reports that the government’s programme to support councils to find emergency accommodation for homeless people during the coronavirus crisis is now coming to an end.