15 April 2020

Our focus – as always – is on the safety and welfare of our clients, including people who are rough sleeping, in emergency or temporary housing and people rebuilding their lives after being homeless.

Across our 300 plus projects we support around 30,000 vulnerable people a year, including almost 3,000 who stay inside a St Mungo’s service each night.

COVID -19 is a global pandemic which, according to the World Health Organisation, affects vulnerable people disproportionately. This group includes people who are homeless or have complex health needs.

As one of the largest providers of homelessness services in the country, we are doing everything we can to keep clients safe.

St Mungo’s outreach, emergency hub staff and charity partners have now supported around 1,600 vulnerable people off the streets and from emergency hubs into individual hotel rooms in England over the past few weeks. This includes;

In London, The Mayor Sadiq Khan, has praised the work of St Mungo’s alongside partners as it was announced that more than 1,000 homeless Londoners are now self-isolating in hotels across the capital. The initiative, launched just three weeks ago, involves City Hall working with Government and charity bodies to block book rooms, allowing highly vulnerable people sleeping rough to follow government self-isolation guidelines.

Jack, who works for a St Mungo’s outreach team said: “Working as an outreach worker during the current COVID-19 pandemic has been hectic but worthwhile. We have housed a huge amount of people, some of those have not been inside in a number of years, but are now accessing and thriving in our supported housing pathway.”

On client from Bristol said: “I came out of hospital with No Fixed Abode so a friend took me in. But then he had to go into hospital so I had to leave. I contacted the council and a St Mungo’s worker got me in here. I don’t want to be sleeping on the streets. The room is fine – I’m happy for small mercies – I’m quite adaptable. The food is great and my medication is all sorted. Hopefully I’ll be rehoused and be able to live my life. I’m on benefits but I want to work – I can do stuff – I hope it will involve helping other people.”

Howard Sinclair, CEO of St Mungo’s said: “Our teams are working round the clock to support over 1,600 people who were living on the streets or in emergency hubs into hotel accommodation in London.

“Thanks to the GLA and other partners, these vulnerable people are now in a place where they can self-isolate in safety, and are out of harm’s way. We begin to look beyond the crisis and work out next options for people when they have to leave their crisis accommodation. This will enable us to ensure that support and housing is available to anyone at risk of sleeping rough so people have a home for good.

“I would continue to urge people to contact StreetLink if they are concerned about someone sleeping rough, or to call 999 in a health emergency.”

Staff in St Mungo’s accommodation services are following guidance from the Government and Public Health England to keep clients and staff safe, and together with sector partners, pushing for more from Government for our keyworkers and clients over coming months.

You can read more on our policy asks for the government here: https://www.mungos.org/publication/policy-briefing-rough-sleeping-and-single-homelessness-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-crisis 

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