More than 100 homeless people in Reading have been housed during the Covid-19 crisis, although some have not taken up accommodation offers.

But now funding is set to end, which means these people could face going back to the streets or sofas again. Reading Borough Council's (RBC) Housing chief has outlined the situation and what the council intends to do to continue to help rough sleepers.

He said the council is aiming to permanently house all 128 rough sleepers that have been put in temporary accommodation but financial constraints could make it a "major challenge".

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Reading Borough Council (RBC) successfully placed 60 homeless people in accommodation on Friday, March 27 after the government’s directive the day before to accommodate all rough sleepers by the end of the month.

Since then the council has placed a further 68 people in B&Bs, hostels and other accommodation.

Cllr Ennis said: “There will be a major effort by this council to ensure all 128 people are found permanent accommodation.

“There is already work with the housing partners to ensure that takes place but that will be a major challenge.”

The Government has so far announced two rounds of £1.6bn funding for councils to meet additional costs from the coronavirus crises, with Reading getting £8.3million in total.

A large amount of this money is focused on funding adult and children’s social care services, with the funds also providing support for rough sleepers and those who are vulnerable or at financial risk during the crisis.

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Cllr Ennis added: “The government have now given notice that this funding, which was very much welcome, is going to end.

“This will put pressure on the council’s funding and its support to make sure 128 people are not released as homeless.

“If that funding ends and that pressure goes onto the council, then people are at risk of sleeping rough or being street homeless.

“It wouldn’t be because this council is not prepared to assist them. It would be because the pressure would be so great that we could not afford to do that unless we put ourselves in a very difficult situation financially."

In other coronavirus-related news, the One Reading Community Hub is now shut on Sundays, but will remain open Monday – Saturday, from 9am to 5pm (until 1pm on Saturdays) except for bank holidays.