The Coronavirus outbreak presents particular risks to the people we work with. Many SHP clients have long-term physical health conditions and/or compromised immune systems, meaning that they are at severe risk of harm should they contract the virus. 

In line with official guidance from Public Health England (PHE), SHP has taken a range of hygiene and containment measures to protect and support our clients and staff in the wake of the pandemic. 

Across our accommodation services we are closely monitoring our clients’ health and keeping clients up to date with the latest information about Covid19. As it has become increasingly difficult to access GP services, members of the Sports and Health Project team have been carrying out health checks on clients in hostels.

SHP has taken a leading role in Camden’s ‘COVID Protect’ programme, helping clients from Camden hostels who have underlying health problems and need to self-isolate, to move to a hotel we are now running. The hotel provides en-suite accommodation, with meals delivered to people’s rooms.

In Redbridge, our Ryedale winter shelter in Ilford has expanded its capacity from 32 to 50 beds after the council tasked SHP with expanding the service to protect more of the borough’s rough sleepers. Meanwhile, also in Ilford, SHP has opened a 50-bed hotel for people who are moving out of cold weather shelters across London.

In Westminster, staff have been leading on establishing a 135-bed hotel accommodation service for rough sleepers.

Our community-based Floating Support services are providing support to clients remotely through telephone-based assessments and meetings, with client visits limited to emergencies. Food parcels are being delivered to vulnerable clients who are unable to get provisions for themselves and welfare checks are being carried out regularly to ensure that clients are managing while social distancing measures are in place.

Chief Executive Liz Rutherfoord said: “This is an unprecedented and highly challenging time, and our priority is to keep our clients and staff safe. Staff across the organisation are pulling together to ensure that we can continue to provide services for homeless and vulnerable people in London, who need our support now more than ever.”