Since the covid-19 lockdown began in March, we placed a total of 266 rough sleepers in emergency accommodation, typically hotels and self-contained apartments, to keep them safe from the covid-19 outbreak. Our outreach teams have helped hundreds more into hotels provided by the GLA.
Support workers have worked intensively with individuals during this time to understand their needs and develop tailored longer-term solutions to help them move onto sustainable housing.
Three meals a day
Everyone housed in emergency accommodation since March has been receiving three meals a day, with a total of around 137,000 meals served in Westminster since lockdown began.
We have been assisted in this huge exercise by charity partners, The Passage and Connection at St Martin’s, and volunteers through Unity Works, who have prepared thousands of meals and organised their delivery around the city.
As lockdown restrictions start to ease, hundreds of rough sleepers in Westminster have been supported into settled accommodation with ongoing wraparound support, so no-one should need to return to the streets.
Working with partners including St Mungo’s, The Connection at St Martin’s, The Passage and West London Mission, we’ve moved more than 240 people into settled accommodation, including placing around 50 people into council housing, while helping others into the private rented sector.
Once someone is housed, we continue to provide wrap around support to help people keep their tenancy, find and hold down a job, and continue accessing treatment for health and mental health issues.
Providing support after coronavirus
Unfortunately, rough sleepers remain in Westminster and there is concern that numbers may rise again as people return to the city. Together with our charity partners, we will continue to do all we can to support them.
We are determined that the lessons learned from the pandemic will shape services for the future. A review will seek to draw in the experiences of all partners and public sector colleagues who have been involved with this work and will be looking at things like whether we can phase out shared accommodation, such as hostels, to give people their independent space as the best foundation to support them away from the streets permanently.