THE Isle of Wight Council has released a statement­ on its efforts to tackle homelessness on the Island during the coronavirus crisis.

The update comes after there was public outcry when a gathering was spotted outside a Sandown hotel, where individuals were alleged to be disregarding social distancing, swearing, fighting and drinking.

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In a statement, the council said: "On March 26, as part of the government's response to coronavirus, the Isle of Wight Council were tasked to move all homeless people into single person accommodation within 48 hours.

"In addition, we were directed to provide emergency accommodation to all people presenting as homeless, regardless of the reasons for that homelessness.

"The directions from the government aim to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on people facing homelessness.

"The council’s homelessness service has had to accommodate more than 60 homeless individuals across nine accommodation sites, and has had to move everyone out of the council’s emergency winter shelter as well as several other homeless people living in dormitory type accommodation.

"Our homelessness service approached many of the Island’s hotels and bed and breakfast establishments ­— some of which had already decided to close entirely because of the pandemic and others who were not able to support the need for additional accommodation for homeless individuals.

"It is important to stress that not one homeless family is currently based in a hotel or bed and breakfast.

"The homelessness service has used other forms of accommodation to ensure that homeless families containing children are able access their own facilities wherever possible.

"The council is very aware there have been some public disruption and community safety issues relating to a small number of the individuals who have been housed in this emergency accommodation.

"We know that some residents are concerned as a consequence.

"We are actively working with our partners, including the police, in the affected communities in order to address these incidences and to find solutions.

"As part of this, the council is continuing its search for additional accommodation for the rising numbers of people presenting as homeless so that we might reduce, if not remove, some of the issues that have been the cause of concern in the last few days."