Liverpool City Council Homelessness Services during COVID-19

Liverpool City Council is fully committed to safeguarding vulnerable people who are homeless during the COVID-19 crisis.  However, in order to keep people safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19, there have been some changes to their service delivery. Find out more below:

Housing Options Service
→ The Housing Options Service is fully operational. Anyone in Liverpool who is at immediate risk of becoming homeless is being urged to contact the council’s Housing Options Team via phone or online. People can refer themselves to Housing Options by calling Careline, the council’s 24/7 social care contact centre, on 0151 233 3061 (Freephone: 0800 731 6844).

A new online form has been launched to make the service even more accessible here.

During this period Housing Options will only be able to provide temporary accommodation where it is absolutely necessary and households will be strongly encouraged to look at other solutions where it is safe to do.

Always Room Inside
→ Tel: 0300 123 2041
The rough sleepers outreach team are fully operational
If you are concerned about someone who you have seen sleeping rough, please call the above number and the outreach team will respond.

Labre House/Rough Sleeping Enablement Centre at Langsdale St
→ These services have shared facilities and are now closed.

Temporary accommodation
→ Temporary accommodation is operational although referrals are no longer through Mainstay.  Anyone who is homeless should be referred to the Housing Options Service (contact details above).

Liverpool City Council have sourced additional temporary accommodation to be able to ensure people can safely self-isolate as well as to facilitate the closure of Labre House.  Liverpool City Council will continue to monitor this capacity carefully and will bring on additional accommodation as we need to.

The council is also working closely with health to identify those in temporary accommodation who have underlying health conditions that may make them particularly vulnerable.  They will work proactively to ensure those individuals are in the most appropriate accommodation solution.

The Council have also surveyed all services to identify their plans to support service users to self-isolate and are working with them to ensure plans are in place.  There will be a daily monitor of service users in temporary accommodation who are symptomatic. Cases of concern are referred to a daily multi-disciplinary team meeting (held virtually) to be discussed with Health.  In addition, Public Health are closely advising us and we are circulating all the latest guidance to our services.

Stakeholders need to be mindful that the current situation with “lockdown” is likely to have a significant impact on the number of people experiencing domestic abuse, the intensity of the abuse experienced and the ability of victims to ask for help.

Liverpool City Council are asking you to be vigilant and ensure that that all requests for help from people experiencing domestic abuse are responded to immediately and that all signs that someone maybe experiencing domestic abuse are identified and responded to.

Services for people experiencing Domestic Abuse:

  • Refuge provision is fully operational and people who need to leave their home as a result of domestic abuse should contact the Housing Options Service.
  • All Liverpool outreach Domestic Abuse agencies are offering support via telephone or ‘Zoom’.
  • Children’s Domestic Abuse workers at YPAS are also offering telephone support in addition to support from LCC Therapeutic Social Workers and Early Help arrangements.

Issues to be aware of:

  • Honour Based Violence may intensify. Extended family members may live together during lockdown, thus increasing risk of abuse from more than one person and the ability of the victim to report.
  • Safeguarding issues within families who are already engaging with support but where issues may be exacerbated as they are all at home for long periods as children are no longer in school.
  • Patients are being discharged early from hospitals, who are trying to free up beds as soon as possible, thus affecting the co-ordination of a safe move out of hospital to accommodation.

The key local voluntary agency services are listed on the LCC Live Well Directory:

The government have also recognised the impact of the current lockdown on people experiencing domestic abuse. Find out more here.

Service providers are ensuring that food and other essential items are available to all service users in their accommodation, therefore there is no need for anyone to leave their accommodation to attend a soup kitchen or to beg for money for food.

Services for people with substance misuse issues are still operating although some have a reduced service or are operating remotely. These are summarised below: 

  • Residential Rehabilitation services are still operating and there are no restrictions on new placements
  • Action on Addiction’s Community Day Rehabilitation Service is operational but support is delivered remotely either online or via phone
  • The Hope Centre is operating at reduced capacity for detox, and only in emergency situations
  • Treatment Providers such as Merseycare and We Are With You (formerly Addaction) are still providing face to face contact for new service users and complying with Covid 19 social distancing guidance.
  • Service users who return to service are having their initial assessments via telephone and follows ups via skype if possible.
  • People being released from prison are being supported with a 7 days low level bridging script until full assessment and care plan are agreed and implemented.
  • All opioid substitute prescriptions have been extended – service users previously on daily pick up have moved to weekly pick up, those on weekly have moved to fortnightly and so forth.
  • Daily Telephone/Skype – Check ins for all service users if applicable
  • Psychosocial support –  held virtually
  • Outreach Support – is limited and focussing on needle exchange programme
  • Pharmacies – Reduced capacity but still providing supervised consumption

COVID19 Government Guidance for commissioners and service providers for those dependent on drugs or alcohol is available here.

Liverpool City Council are asking accommodation providers to support people to self-isolate and are providing additional funding for providers to make life more comfortable for these people by buying TV’s or other items, when necessary, and providing food.

When people do not self-isolate, we are asking providers to assertively encourage them to do so, explaining the importance of the situation and the risks associated with a failure to self-isolate.  If service users continue to fail to follow this guidance, we are escalating these issues to Public Health England.

We have had reports of some people gathering in the city centre, not practicing social distancing and being abusive to outreach workers and the Police. We urge you to encourage service users to stay in, and if they have to go out, only go out for one of the essential reasons as set out by Government, and to be courteous to anyone they come across.

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