Local authorities will receive \u00a310m in cold weather payments to help keep rough sleepers safe over the winter, the government has announced, with an additional \u00a32m earmarked for faith and community groups to provide emergency accommodation. The money is \u2018on top of over half a billion pounds the government is already spending to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping this year alone\u2019, says the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. Comprehensive guidance, produced in partnership with PHE, Homeless Link and Housing Justice, will also be issued to the homelessness sector to support shelters to open more safely, providing communal facilities only if there is no alternative. \u2018As we approach winter, we are focusing on the best way to protect rough sleepers from the cold weather and coronavirus,\u2019 said communities secretary Robert Jenrick. \u2018The funding and guidance I\u2019m announcing today will mean that working with councils and community groups, some of the most vulnerable people in society are given support and a safe place to stay this winter.\u2019 Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes, however, stated that the money falls short \u2018of the bold action we need\u2019 to keep people safe. \u2018Back in March the government rightly decided that night shelters and hostels were not a safe environment for people during the pandemic. It\u2019s completely unacceptable that this approach should now change as we go into winter when the threat remains the same. We must not force people to choose between freezing on the street or a shelter, when both needlessly put lives at risk.\u2019 The government needed to provide local authorities with the money to ensure everyone forced to sleep rough has access to safe, self-contained accommodation as happened in March, he stressed. \u2018Anything but this is risking lives. We urgently need the government to see sense on this matter and keep winter night shelters closed.\u2019 Crisis is one of 18 health and homelessness organisations \u2013 including the BMA and royal colleges of physicians, GPs and psychiatrists \u2013 to write an open letter urging the government to provide suitable alternative accommodation due to the high risk of COVID transmission in night shelters. \u2018Housing is a social determinant of health; living on the streets or without a stable home makes you more vulnerable to physical illness, poor mental health and drug and alcohol problems,\u2019 it says. \u2018These health inequalities, with the added health impacts of coronavirus and the cold, mean that failing to protect people in unsafe living conditions over the winter months poses a grave risk to life and will place an enormous and avoidable pressure on the NHS.\u2019 Read the open letter here.