Continued Support Needed For The Homeless And Vulnerable - Our Response

Continued support needed for the homeless and vulnerable - Our response

Alongside the immediate need for housing solutions, we are acutely aware that the mid to long term impact of the Covid lockdown is still not known.  Without swift action we could see an impending crisis in the private rental sector as well as an increase in unemployment and mental ill health risk seeing a surge in homelessness in the coming months.

The country saw a 69% increase of people claiming unemployment benefits in the UK in April (Office for National Statistics) and Citizen’s Advice calculated that up to 2.6 million private renters may have missed or expected to miss a rent payment in April. The Royal College of Psychiatrists is warning that services could be overwhelmed by “a tsunami of mental illness”.

In May the interim report published by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee into protecting rough sleepers and renters, warned of a looming homelessness crisis, however, the signs are that the Government are keen to put in place measures to help which is welcome news.  We want to make sure that there is a safety net for those who have rock bottom as a result of economic and mental health effects of the lockdown.

Even before lockdown, 79% of homeless people moving into our homes stated that they were in debt*. Many of these debts are due to broken tenancies which often occur when other problems mount up and people become overwhelmed. 68% of the adults in our homelessness services stated they had issues with their mental health*. We expect both these figure will sadly increase as the longer term effects of lockdown become known.

Andrew Lord, Alabaré Chief Executive says;

“Putting a roof over someone’s head is vital when they have lost their home.  Making sure they have the support they need to overcome the problems that led them to become homeless is equally vital if we are to ensure that they don’t suffer from a perpetual cycle of crisis and deprivation. With nearly 30 years’ experience in supporting homeless adults, young people, Veterans, young parents and their babies and those leaving the care system, our teams have the skills and compassion needed to help those in crisis, and give practical advice and support to overcome debt and mental health concerns.”

As such it is more important than ever that Alabaré is able to continue its work ensuring there is a safe home and support to build a new start for those so critically effected by the lockdown.

Amongst the 350 homeless and vulnerable people we have provided a home for during the pandemic is Matt. Matt became estranged from his family and friends, and after losing his home had been sleeping rough in woodland. When the virus started to spread across the UK he visited our Drop In to get food and advice, and we were able to help him secure a place in our hostel where he has remained safe and well.

"I’m very thankful to Alabaré and their staff and supporters. They have helped me through a difficult time and I’m now in accommodation and receiving help and support, which I’m so thankful for,” says Matt.

We will continue our work to support many more individuals like Matt and ensure:

         •           Support and accommodation is available to rough sleepers including those coming out of emergency accommodation

         •           Support is available to anyone facing homelessness, including as a result of future tenancy eviction or redundancy

         •           Support is available to anyone struggling with poor mental health or anxiety

*Statistics from 2018-2019

 

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