Statement from councillor Linda Smith, deputy leader and cabinet member for leisure and housing:
“The government has identified that people experiencing rough sleeping or who live in shared spaces like hostels and supported accommodation are at particular risk from coronavirus. Many have underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable and they are unable to self-isolate in the event of infection.
“We are expecting special guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and rough sleeping advisers at Public Health England. The Budget announcement highlights a £500 million coronavirus ‘hardship fund’ for local authorities to help vulnerable people in their areas. We will be looking at the details on how we may be able to access this.
“We believe that nobody should have to sleep rough in Oxford and we are committed to keeping services open and protecting homeless people from coronavirus, as far as we are able to. We are working with local supported housing and day service providers to develop an urgent action plan that will support homeless people with coronavirus and at risk of being infected.”