THE Covid crisis in the spring did result in almost ending homelessness in the city.

City councillors heard that most of the rough sleepers were brought into accommodation in the 'Everyone in' initiative.

As reported previously, the council took over a former A2 Dominion supported housing project on City Road to provide 10 beds.

The lease has been extended to March after a £46,000 grant was secured from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

It helped take the strain after social distancing rules meant the Nightshelter on Jewry Street had to stop having shared bedrooms, reducing its capacity from 17 to 10. Additional beds were also provided at the Mercure Wessex Hotel.

Charlotte Quinn, housing options manager, said out of 33 homeless people 29 were moved into temporary accommodation whilst some opted to stay rough sleeping and one was back in prison.

They were provided with two meals a day, medicine and support to stay at home such as TV, DVDs, microwave and mobile phones.

Other families were housed because social distancing meant they could not stay in their current households.

The economic shock has increased unemployment and as a result rent arrears have increased from 1.4 per cent in April to 2 per cent in October.

But housing officers have changed how they work with tenants, increasing personal contact. So fewer letters are being sent and more emails, texts and phone calls are being made.

In May 1,818 phone calls were made but this had increased to 2,925 in October, the housing and business policy committee heard.