Pandemic increases homelessness
As we head into autumn, the sun sets earlier, the dark nights begin to draw in, the cold months are tapping at our windows whilst we turn the heating on and stay cosy inside. Those less fortunate are facing an even bleaker winter than usual with the impact of Covid 19. According to Government figures, there were 4266 rough sleepers on any single night in just England alone as reported by www.homeless.org.uk, a figure that has increased by 141% since 2010. An increase in homelessness has already been identified and only set to increase with inevitable job losses and furlough schemes ceasing during these uncertain pandemic times.
Support services struggling to cope financially
Since the pandemic, the Government has shown a commitment with funding of £3.2million to accommodate rough sleepers throughout these difficult times which is a great move, especially as the cold months draw in. The pandemic has seriously impacted the services that the vulnerable and homeless need as offices close down and social distancing restrictions put limitations on fundraising events and gatherings. Those rough sleepers and vulnerable who suffer from drug and alcohol addictions and mental health issues are having to endure limited access to services, making the government reach out funding difficult to help all of these people, as they become difficult to house in temporary accommodation due to behavioural issues. National housing federation report the following: www.housing.org.uk
“Support services also report significant levels of staff absence due to illness and self- isolation (15-25%), which brings additional costs when agency staff are needed to replace them or existing staff are redeployed, incurring administrative costs. Some organisations are modelling for absences of up to 70%, which would make some smaller organisations no longer financially viable. Without extra financial support, some services may need to close, meaning a return to rough sleeping for many and increased costs in healthcare, policing, social care, housing and welfare.”
The organisations that work so hard to help the homeless and vulnerable are really struggling with their efforts due to the pandemic impact on staff shortages, fundraising restrictions and safety guidelines.
donating our masks to help the support serviceS
Saturday 10th October was World Homelessness and World Mental Health Day, so we wanted to reach out and do something to help some of the incredible local organisations that are helping the vulnerable and rough sleepers around Halifax, Huddersfield, Brighouse and Leeds. We visited the charities as named below and donated some of our nanotechnology reusable face coverings. These will be used for both volunteers and those who are homeless as part of care packs. These organisations work tirelessly to provide food, clothing, shelter and health care services and are very hindered with their fundraising efforts because of the pandemic. It was such a delight to meet these wonderful people and to be able to help in what way to we can. We hope to be able to continue to help where possible.
If the time comes where your local area is in lockdown or you are in self-isolation, try to think about how lucky you are that you are able to shelter in the warmth of your house, despite the inconvenience and disruption. Times are hard for all of us right now, in lots of different ways, but hard times are much harder for those who were, before the pandemic, already without these luxuries, these things are what we sometimes take for granted.
Stay Safe and Be Kind Always.