THE leader of a Southampton church has announced he would support plans to see rough sleepers come off city streets.

It comes as charities have urged the government to block-book hotel beds for homeless people to self-isolate from the coronavirus – a move that could affect over 100 Southampton families.

Doing so could “potentially save thousands of lives” throughout the country, according to Museum of Homelessness, as it warned shared emergency shelters could become “death traps”.

Between July and September last year, 195 households identified as homeless in Southampton, according to data by Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

A soup run which gives out flasks of soup and sandwiches to those in need has also been cancelled.

Leader of City Life Church, Paul Woodman, said: “We have had to take the difficult decision to close our soup run this week in line with government advice.

“Having operated for over 20 years, it’s hard to suspend the service. Other charities are also needing to do the same.

“These are extraordinary times and we would support any new initiatives, like they’ve done in London hotels, to see people come off the streets.”

But Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture and Councillor Satvir Kaur said the reality of what is being promised by the government is “challenging”.

She said: “During these extremely challenging times, our poorest and most most vulnerable are at risk of falling through the net, so any additional support from government is of course welcome.

“There is a growing gap between government announcements and reality on the ground, where accessing what’s being promised can be challenging.

“We are still doing everything we can to support and protect our rough sleepers and those at risk of becoming homeless, and working with partners through the city to ensure no one has to sleep rough and can self-isolate if needed.”

The Government has already pledged £3.2 million in emergency support for rough sleepers during the outbreak – with 21 percent going to the South East.

But Matt Turtle, co-founder of campaign group Museum of Homelessness, said the number of people at risk of homelessness due to the virus will increase.

He said: “If they are staying together in hostels it could literally be like a death trap to them. Even if one of them has symptoms, it can drag everyone else down."