Casework and shelter updates:
A message from senior caseworker Neil: Some of our successes from the past fortnight seem to have happened a long time ago now. Despite the constantly changing situation, we’ve been trying to support everyone who turns to us as best we can. Unsurprisingly, there have been many challenges in recent weeks. Some housing providers have closed to new referrals and others report that they are struggling to access new accommodation. Guests who have managed to get jobs in all kinds of industries (hospitality is key for many of our guests) have suddenly found themselves back out of work. The wait time on a call to book a first appointment for a new Universal Credit claim has gone from about 10 minutes to 2 hours!
K&C South: We fast-tracked a vulnerable female guests’ EUSS application to enable her to access accommodation. A Polish woman has now been placed in Temporary Accommodation - staying in our shelter kept her off the streets while the Passage applied for her Settled Status and then supported her with housing. An older Polish man has viewed and accepted a tenancy which caseworker Jasmiina supported with recently following long-term work by caseworker Mash.
Wandsworth: Four former shelter guests have been housed including one British man into private rented accommodation and one woman into supported accommodation.
Richmond: Caseworker Gemma found a female guest a tenancy in the perfect location for her and we have found an organisation to take on another guest’s immigration case.
H&F: The week before last, Alex was advocating hard for some of our guests who had to be turned away from the shelters due to showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Outside of shelters: A couple that caseworker Joe was working with have been placed in Temporary Accommodation by Westminster after we worked on their Settled Status applications. Three women that Joe was separately supporting have moved into accommodation. An older guest who caseworker Patricia helped into Temporary Accommodation at the start of the shelter season has now been helped into permanent accommodation by tenancy support caseworker Chandni. We have used the Vicar’s Relief Fund to support two individuals recently. We supported one young woman, who was running out of money to pay for hostels, to access private rented accommodation and to prevent a man from being evicted from his accommodation for arrears just as he was starting a new job.
Glass Door in the media: We have been speaking to the press about the changing needs of people facing homelessness during COVID-19. Recent coverage includes comments by Glass Door staff on the need to offer accommodation to people who are street homeless in the Guardian, The Independent, Metro and Vice.
Supporter superstars of the fortnight: A huge thank you to Isabelle, Stephanie, Suzanne, Sigrid and Helen for making and delivering food for guests who needed it with very little notice last week. We have been overwhelmed by the response from the community to offer their help during this time. We currently have a long list of volunteers willing to help so please know that, if you have contacted us to volunteer, we will be in touch if and when we need it.
Delicious breakfast treats delivered by volunteer Isabelle to guests who needed it last week
Feedback sought: This is the time of year we ask for feedback from our volunteers. In the coming week, we will be sending a link to an online survey directly to registered volunteers who have indicated they are happy to hear from us. Please do look out for it and encourage all the members of your team to give us their honest and constructive feedback.
Events: With the latest social distancing guidelines in place, we are postponing our Community Thank You Evening which was due to take place on 7 May at the Royal Garden Hotel. We are currently thinking about other ways that we might be able thank and update all of our supporters in a virtual environment.