PRIVATE landlords are being asked to play a part in keeping rough sleepers off the streets in Ludlow and south Shropshire.

Although the numbers have been small there have been reports of people sleeping rough in Ludlow during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Shropshire Council has made and appeal for private landlords to come forward to help reduce homelessness and rough sleeping in the county.

In March 2020, the Government launched the ‘Everyone In’ scheme to provide emergency accommodation for people in England who had been sleeping rough.

Shropshire Council’s response has provided emergency shelter for over 150 households, a significant number of whom had been rough sleeping or were at risk of rough sleeping.

One of the hotels within the county who has provided accommodation is the Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury.

Twenty-five of the most vulnerable adults who had previously been sleeping rough were placed here and supported by Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury Ark and hotel staff.

Many of them have made incredible progress through their own determination, along with the wraparound care and support provided from several agencies such as the Riverside GP practice, Mind, and Shropshire Recovery Partnership.

As the lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease, the council wants to find accommodation and employment for as many of the people placed into hotel accommodation as possible, but a shortage of properties in the key areas is making the task difficult.

Laura Fisher, Shropshire Council’s housing services manager, described the challenge.

“The word unprecedented has been used a lot in relation to the pandemic, and the housing situation is no different,” she said.

“I believe we have an opportunity to ensure we reduce homeless and rough sleeping numbers in Shropshire long term by continuing to work with those who have made progress and are ready for their own tenancies.

“Once hotels go back to ‘business as usual’ we need to be sure we can provide as many people as possible with somewhere to call home.

“We are already having conversations with our social housing providers, but there is not enough social housing to meet our needs, and we will need to rely on private landlords to help also.”