Temporary accommodation will be provided to allow homeless people in Nottinghamshire to self-isolate if they come into contact with Covid-19.
This is according to a new, countywide plan led by the housing association and homelessness charity Framework, with all Nottinghamshire councils to agree on plans to free up space this winter.
Documents due to be reviewed by Mansfield District Council this week show there is expected to be a growing need for homeless people to self-isolate amid rising cases of the virus.
A report says the issue has been a “continuous need” throughout the pandemic which is required at short notice, with charities and councils finding accommodation for homeless people if they test positive for Covid.
However, the report adds that, due to “competing demands” in the housing market, recent attempts to find short-term accommodation have been unsuccessful.
The homeless community had previously used hotels in Nottingham city during the early months of the pandemic before this scheme was stopped as restrictions began to ease.
Now the councils are seeking a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in order to find specific accommodation to meet the needs between now and the spring.
This will come in the form of a four-bedroom property in one Nottinghamshire district, commissioned by public health when it is required by Framework.
A report states: “During the pandemic, there has been a continuous need, often at short notice, for accommodation to be found for homeless individuals to self-isolate in suitable accommodation.
“District and city housing teams have always managed to find accommodation, but this has become increasingly challenging with competing demands on housing resulting in very few accommodation options available in any district.
“This has been compounded further by the ending of the use of hotels in the city where homeless people were welcomed and support services were available on site.
“Solutions from local authority housing teams were not forthcoming and a potential solution was therefore proposed by Framework, which would be exclusively available initially for the winter period when cases are expected to increase.”
The report estimates the number of people needing to use the accommodation would be as low as “perhaps one or two individuals at any one time”.
But it states: “The implications of enabling someone to self-isolate in this accommodation require agreement on how each individual exits the property.”
The report adds an agreement has been reached where Nottinghamshire County Council public health teams will commission additional accommodation, to be used specifically for self-isolation.
It does not state which district the four-bedroom house will be based in but confirms it will not be in Mansfield.
The accommodation will initially be available until March 31, 2022, the report confirms.
But to ensure this agreement can take place, the report stresses the need for an agreement between the seven housing authorities in Nottinghamshire – all district and borough councils – in order to make it work.
Mansfield District Council is due to approve the memorandum during a delegated decision by Councillor Marion Bradshaw (Lab), portfolio holder for communities, housing and wellbeing, on Friday (December 17).
All other local authorities in Nottinghamshire are expected to make the same agreement, with the plans approved by the county’s local resilience forum.