Channel 1 Los Angeles
The Mayor’s Homelessness Change programme will fund works to remodel existing hostels to make it easier to maintain social distancing and self-isolation, ensure bathroom facilities aren’t shared and help slow any spread of the virus between hostel residents.
A recent survey of the suitability of London’s hostels in the Covid-19 era found that four per cent of bedspaces in the hostels that responded were in shared rooms and around half of residents shared bathroom facilities with other people.*
The Homelessness Change programme supports creative and innovative responses to London’s homelessness crisis by supporting the refurbishment, remodelling or new build of hostels for homeless people, refuges for victims of domestic abuse or shared accommodation for young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The programme has previously supported organisations such as St Mungo’s, Veterans Aid, the YMCA and numerous London housing associations and local authorities.
Homelessness service providers across London have risen to the unique challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic but with social distancing and self-isolation requirements set to continue for some time to come, many organisations will be looking at making permanent changes to their hostels. This funding will help them to repurpose existing hostels to make them better suited to the post-Covid19 world. This may include remodelling of communal areas and the addition of en-suites.
Rough sleepers are significantly more likely to have underlying health conditions than the wider population. They are also far less likely to be able to follow public health guidelines to reduce transmission and spread of coronavirus; such as handwashing, self-isolation and social distancing.
This is the latest part of the Mayor’s wide-ranging work to keep London’s rough sleepers safe during the pandemic. More than 1,300 homeless people are currently being supported in hotels and other safe accommodation across London, paid for by the Mayor and the Government. Meanwhile, outreach services have been working around the clock since the crisis started to get people who are on the streets, or sleeping communally in winter night shelters, into safe, secure accommodation.