BY IAN (Outreach Worker, Tiverton)
The initial results of a survey by the UCL Collaborative Centre for Inclusion Health reveal the coronavirus death rate of homeless people living in London’s hostels is 25 times higher than the general adult population. It found that 38% of hostels in the capital had suspected Covid-19 cases, with 41% of sick residents sharing bathrooms with other residents and 35% of affected hostels still using communal dining rooms. At least 17 residents have been admitted to hospital with more serve symptoms since March.
The Government’s response to the crisis – housing homeless people – has been great. There will always be homeless people who cannot stay put and find the idea of a roof over the heads appalling but in general the homeless clients we come across at I Have a Name are delighted to be staying in hotels and hostels, whereas before they had little chance of thinking beyond the next few hours. This is a great time for them to pull their lives together and for homeless charities such as ourselves to intervene.
The big fear is what happens when the Government’s housing scheme for the homeless ends?
That is where the Government should be all ears and listen to what those who work with the homeless on a daily basis are saying.