Exactly one year ago today (26 March) then Homelessness Minister Luke Hall MP wrote to all local authorities, calling on them to get ‘everyone in’, and ensure every person who was sleeping rough or at risk of doing so, had access to safe, self-contained accommodation during the pandemic.
Everyone In – as it has become known – has resulted in thousands of people being helped off the streets, in to emergency accommodation and, for many, on to a permanent home.
To mark the anniversary, leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s is reflecting on the last 12 months and highlighting the achievements of the initiative; and urging all partners involved, including national, regional and local government, health agencies, homelessness organisations and housing associations, to build on its success and convert this emergency response in to every-day working.
In one year, St Mungo’s has:
- Managed 30 hotels across London, Bristol, Bournemouth, Brighton, Oxford and Reading, nine of which are still open
- Helped more than 4,000 people who were sleeping rough or in communal night shelters to isolate safely in empty hotels or other emergency accommodation
- Supported nearly 1,500 people to make positive moves from emergency accommodation into longer-term housing
- Recruited 400 volunteers who have worked a total of 2,500 shifts in 22,500 hours
- Provided 210,000 food deliveries to 810 clients across 34 services
St Mungo’s Chief Executive, Steve Douglas CBE, said: “The last 12 months have been such a difficult time for so many people and my thoughts are with anyone who has lost a loved one or been affected by this awful virus.
“Through these terrible times we have also seen some amazing compassion and humanity, and just how resilient we can be.
“The Covid-19 public health emergency thrust the issue of street homelessness, and the serious medical issues it can cause, sharply into public focus. And through innovative, flexible and creative partnership working thousands of people have been helped to move off the streets.
“I am so proud of all our teams and grateful to our many partners with whom we have worked, all have contributed to this huge effort during these challenging times.
“St Mungo’s staff and volunteers, backed by our donors and corporate partners, and with support from across different departments and different levels of government, have worked tirelessly to make sure as many people as possible have been helped.
“It has been an unprecedented time with unprecedented achievements, and we know it has saved hundreds of lives,” he said.
Joshua, who was supported by St Mungo’s during the pandemic, said: “I was confused about my direction after becoming homeless, but during the first lockdown and the introduction of ‘Everyone In’, it all turned around for me and the support I have received from St Mungo’s has been a blessing.
“The dedication and kindness of the numerous staff and army of volunteers has been a steadying influence in my life, they have lifted me when I have been down, protected me when I was most vulnerable, and comforted me when I felt displaced, and I am wholeheartedly grateful to every single one of them for helping me to take that first step towards moving away from homelessness.”
This week a new independent commission to examine what can be learnt from the last year has been announced. Chaired by Lord Bob Kerslake, the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping will look at the lesson from Everyone In and feed in to Government.
Mr Douglas, who is an adviser to the Commission, continued: “We have seen what can be achieved when we work together. We have learned so much, we must capture that and improve so that we can help more people, either by preventing them from coming to the streets in the first place, or helping them move away from them for good.
“The last year has taught us that with the will, the drive and the resources, ending rough sleeping is possible. And St Mungo’s is ready to work with our charity colleagues, health service providers, and partners in local and national government to achieve that crucially important aim.”
To mark the achievements of the past year, St Mungo’s will be highlighting some of the life-changing work done using #WhenWeWorkTogether via its social media accounts.
To find out more visit the dedicated web page where you will find a videos from St Mungo’s teams from across the country, clients detailing their experiences during the last year, and a message from St Mungo’s patron TV presenter Phil Spencer.