SHP is working with local government and charity partners across the capital to keep the city’s rough sleepers safe amid the COVID 19 pandemic. 

More than 1,000 homeless Londoners are now self-isolating in hotels and other safe locations, thanks to the work of the Mayor Sadiq Khan’s rough sleeping team, boroughs and London homeless charities including SHP. 

Over the past three weeks hotels across the capital have been block-booked to allow highly vulnerable rough sleepers to follow Government self-isolation guidelines. 

SHP’s contribution has included running a 110-bed hotel in Camden, and a 135-bed hotel in Westminster to homeless clients, funded by the local authority in each borough. We have also opened a 50-bed hotel in Ilford funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA).  All the accommodation provides en-suite facilities which allow people to effectively self-isolate. 

We are working alongside other London charities, St Mungos, Depaul, Thames Reach, Look Ahead and Connection St Martins to provide a coordinated response, while Change Grow Live are providing specialist substance misuse support across the hotels for those residents who require it. 

This vital work is being supported by £10.55m of funding from the Mayor and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. 

Rough sleepers are significantly more likely to have underlying health conditions – including respiratory problems – than the wider population. They are also far less likely to be able to follow Public Health England advice, such as self-isolation, social distancing and handwashing. Much existing accommodation available to rough sleepers, while vitally important, is unsuitable for self-isolation. 

SHP Chief Executive Liz Rutherfoord said: “We’re proud to be part of this co-ordinated effort, without which Londons rough sleepers would be facing the pandemic on the streets or in circumstances where self-isolation is impossible. 

Equally important in the months to come will be ensuring that people who have been accommodated as part of the scheme continue to be supported and a sustainable plan is drawn up so that they do not return to rough sleeping. 

We also need to ensure that the accelerated progress in tackling homelessness that has been made as a result of this crisis is sustained after it ends. SHP, alongside other providers, will be lobbying hard to secure a permanent legacy for homeless people, including, vitally, the long-needed integration of health and homelessness services which we have seen over the past few weeks.”