Councillors have agreed to look into how to ensure rough sleepers do not have to return to the streets in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Cross-party agreement was reached on a series of proposals aimed at providing ongoing support for homeless people, amid fears more people could be forced onto the streets when a ban on evictions is lifted and joblessness increases.

During the Covid-19 crisis, councils used Government funding to place rough sleepers in hotels and other emergency accommodation.

On June 24, the Government announced a further £105 million would be provided in a drive “to end rough sleeping for good”.

At a meeting of the housing and growth committee on Monday (July 6), Cllr Paul Edwards (Labour, Underhill) called for support for rough sleepers to continue after the Covid-19 crisis is over.

Cllr Edwards said: “The onset of the pandemic has meant that we have managed to get virtually all the rough sleepers into accommodation.

“But as the lockdown is starting to unfold and we are getting back to the ‘new normal’, we have some concerns about what might happen to the rough sleepers. We would like to receive some detailed information from officers on the various points we have raised in this particular member’s item.”

Cllr Edwards called on council officers to update the committee on the ongoing support needed to keep rough sleepers off the streets when the “current funding arrangements end”.

He also asked them to look at securing accommodation “to ensure none of our rough sleepers are made homeless again”.

And he warned support may be needed due to a “dramatic increase in homelessness” when the current ban on evictions is lifted and the ending of the furlough scheme leads to a rise in job losses.

Cllr Ross Houston (Labour, West Finchley) and committee chairman Cllr Richard Cornelius (Conservative, Totteridge) thanked officers for their efforts in helping rough sleepers during the pandemic.

Council officers agreed to report back to the committee on the suggestions outlined in Cllr Edwards’ member’s item.

With more people having to work from home as a result of the virus, the committee also unanimously agreed a member’s item by Cllr Sara Conway (Labour, Burnt Oak) to look at ways of improving digital access in the borough’s housing estates.