In this together – Crisis launches fundraising drive to help people experiencing homelessness in the coronavirus pandemic
Today, Saturday 21st March, national homelessness charity Crisis is launching In this together, a campaign to raise much-needed funds to support people who are homeless in the outbreak. Money raised will help to keep Crisis’ services running - and those of local grassroots homelessness charities who are struggling in these unprecedented circumstances.
People experiencing homelessness, especially those rough sleeping, are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus. They are three times more likely to experience a chronic health condition including asthma and COPD. Crucially, people sleeping on the streets face specific challenges in following the Government’s heath advice in that they may be unable to regularly wash their hands, nor do they have somewhere safe and secure to self-isolate if they feel unwell.
Crisis has decades of experience working with people who are homeless, providing one-to-one support to help rebuild their lives. The charity is committed to keeping its services running during the pandemic – delivering emergency support to rough sleepers, helping people with their health and wellbeing and advising on housing and benefit options. To ensure the charity can continue its work, it is launching the In this together campaign calling for public donations.
Crisis is quickly adapting how it works to meet people’s immediate needs in these challenging times. This includes providing phones with credit to people experiencing homelessness so that they can continue to receive coaching, advice and wellbeing support. Frontline staff have also been delivering care packages with food, tissues, hand sanitiser and hard copies of the latest Government health advice to people sleeping on the streets and those in temporary accommodation.
The charity has also set up an emergency grants scheme to help other local homelessness charities across Britain, such as night shelters, continue to deliver vital services. Crisis is already providing funds to help them cope and adapt their services in the pandemic.
In addition to providing direct services, Crisis has been calling on national governments and local councils to take emergency measures to protect people experiencing homelessness in this outbreak.
Earlier this week (Tuesday 17th March) Crisis, along with other leading homelessness charities including St Mungo’s, Centrepoint, Homeless Link and Shelter Cymru, wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and First Minister Mark Drakeford calling for a comprehensive plan and wide-ranging action to ensure people experiencing homelessness can access self-contained accommodation so they can safely self-isolate.
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “The generosity and resolve of the British public at this time is inspiring. So many people have been in touch to say that they are especially worried about the impact of coronavirus on people who are homeless - and are asking what they can do to help.
“In recent days we’ve had to postpone a number of fundraising events and temporarily close our shops. Now more than ever we value donations to keep our frontline services running, and to support smaller, local homelessness charities with their emergency response in these unprecedented circumstances. We know that with the public’s support we can protect people facing homelessness from the worst effects of this outbreak.”
For more information on In this together and to donate, please visit www.crisis.org.uk/coronavirus