A government-funded drive is taking place to ensure anyone sleeping on the streets in Stafford is given emergency accommodation to help slow the transmission of covid-19 and to support vaccination efforts.
Statistically people sleeping rough are more likely to have underlying health conditions which puts them at higher risk of serious disease and death.
Stafford Borough Council is working with partners to provide a roof over the head of those residents to help protect them from the spread of the Omicron variant and to support them to get covid vaccines.
During the first covid lockdown extra support was given to make sure people living on the streets were provided with temporary housing – and within 48 hours the council had found accommodation for every rough sleeper.
And earlier this year a mobile vaccination programme was rolled out to help rough sleepers and other vulnerable residents in the area - a collaboration between the borough council, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and local emergency homeless accommodation providers.
Now Stafford has been allocated with more than £104,000 as part of the latest government initiative to protect everyone from the threat of Omicron, with people being urged to get their vaccines and booster jabs.
Councillor Jeremy Pert, Cabinet Member for Communities and Health, said they were determined to ensure no-one was left behind in the vaccination drive.
“Ensuring that every eligible person is fully vaccinated has so much importance when it comes to our street homeless. People sleeping rough, and those who are in temporary accommodation, are in some of the most vulnerable groups and are more at risk of contracting Covid-19 – and if they do become infected, then the likelihood is they will become seriously ill.
“The vast majority have chaotic lifestyles brought on by a range of issues which will make it more challenging to arrange, or keep, vaccination appointments in the usual way. It is likely there will still be those who will not come in, or make it difficult for us to place them in accommodation.
“I am pleased we have received additional funding for this and grateful for the support of all our partners in making this happen.”
Dr Paddy Hannigan has been a GP in Stafford for over 30 years and is Clinical Lead for the Staffordshire Vaccination Programme.
He said: “It is excellent news that Stafford’s community of people who are sleeping rough are being provided with safe accommodation this Christmas. Not only will it provide them with comfort and warmth, but it gives them a chance to protect their health by getting vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Anyone in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent can find out where they can get vaccinated by going to www.twbstaffsandstoke.org.uk/coronavirus/how-to-get-a-vaccine-where-and-travelling
You can find more information about what to do if you are at risk of becoming homeless from the council’s website.
Press Release No 5844