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COVID-19 And The Homeless UK

 COVID-19 is probably the most talked about thing right now. Something that only a few weeks back had very little impact on our day, but it has changed how we live for the time being. You could be the most positive person right now, known for having optimism, perseverance and a willingness to overcome obstacles. But if we are all honest, whether it be from the news or our socials, it’s been hard to not let fear slowly creep in to try and steal the sense of normality and safety that we once had in abundance. It’s moments like this that highlight the importance of staying connected, whether it be with friends or family. We need connection to keep our spirits going, to have hope. 

If you’ve been reading our blogs for a while or following the brand then you’ll know that the reason we do what we do is about rewriting the perceptions of homelessness. Helping to bring those on the outside of society, in. So with COVID19 impacting us all, we thought we would share with you just what’s going on across the UK, the impact this disease is having on those who are homeless, what’s being done to help and how we can all play a small part. 

Stay at home?

When Boris Johnson announced that we all must stay at home, what did that mean for those who are homeless? How do you self-isolate on a street or in a hostel room shared with 7 other strangers you don’t know? A lack of housing and suitable accommodation has always been an issue across the UK for those who are homeless. An estimated 40,000 people currently stay in hostels and a further 5,000 are living on our streets. That means in this moment of crisis, a total of 45,000 are in desperate need of a safe space to self-isolate. The pressure is rising on the UK government to act fast, especially given the fact that individuals who are homeless fall under the high risk and vulnerable category, with many having underlying health conditions including respiratory problems. The main strategy that’s now being implemented is vacant hotels. As many have already announced their closure, empty hotels have been pinpointed as the perfect solution to help self-isolate those who are homeless with separate rooms and safe cleaning facilities available.

Last Friday saw the first hotel rooms for the homeless secured with over 300 beds at the Intercontinental Hotel Group block booked for 3 months for rough sleepers to self-isolate. It is yet to be seen how this will pan out across the UK with the plan that everyone is housed by the weekend, yet the homelessness minister, Luke Hall continues to face opposition from hotels willing to house those who are homeless. 

What's being done? How does OutsideIn help?

Homeless charities across the UK are being stretched to the limit, to provide meals, accommodation, support and especially health checks. These are the people leading the front line alongside the NHS. From chatting to our partnered charities across the UK, the greatest needs right now are food, warm clothing and hygiene packs for their staff and also those who are homeless. For example, Whitechapel Mission in London has 300 people experiencing homelessness come through their doors each day. It can be tough to feed and support a family of 5, so imagine supporting 300 people. That’s why we need to help. If you saw our latest collection ‘Love Without Words’ the giving product came from asking what was needed most. Hygiene packs were coming up again and again so we got to work on what items were essential: toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, facecloth, shower gel, shampoo. With 200 items to be sold we created 200 wash bags, to be given to both Whitechapel in London and the Simon community in Belfast.

How do these help? It’s providing essential hygiene to the most vulnerable in society, and with no costs to charities, it’s also a means to help them spend less on these items and help distribute their funds to other areas that are in need. It’s a small start, but it’s a big impact for those who receive them. We're not stopping there, this next few months we will continue to work as a team to innovate new ways to use our 'Wear One Share One' model during COVID-19 to help give back to those who are homeless and vulnerable.

We hope blogs like this give you a little more insight into what’s going on when it comes to COVID-19 and how it’s impacting those who are homeless. If you would love to know more about what we do or how to get involved with the charities we partner with in your area we would love to put you in touch. Just reach out to dani@weareoi.com. Thanks so much for your support during this challenging time and helping us to do what we do. 

Below are some of the homeless charities we partner with, if you would like to find out more about what they do or help donate to their cause click on the links below.
Stay Home. Stay Safe. Spread Hope.

David Johnston

Partnered Charities:
 
Simon Community
25 - 27 Franklin Street, Belfast, BT2 8DS
www.simoncommunity.org
https://www.simoncommunity.org/get-involved/donate -> Donation Link

 

Barnabus
45 Bloom St, Manchester, M1 3LY
https://www.barnabus-manchester.org.uk/donate/barnabus/5/credit-card -> Donation Link  

 

Glasgow City Mission
20 Crimea St, Glasgow, G2 8PW
https://www.glasgowcitymission.com/how-can-you-help/give  -> Donation Link 

 

Whitechapel Mission 
212 Whitechapel Road, London, E1 1BJ 
https://whitechapel.org.uk/  -> Website Homepage has many option on how to help 

 

 

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