Homelessness charities and the pandemic: An insight into the impact of Covid-19

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Borna Greblo
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Homelessness charities and the pandemic: An insight into the impact of Covid-19

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Two charities dedicated to tackling homelessness and supporting people to achieve better futures have given an insight into how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on their work in Alfreton and the surrounding areas.

Like many charities, Framework and P3 both faced a variety of challenges during the pandemic, especially as the lockdown restrictions prohibited many of the approaches they had previously used.

Framework helps people achieve stable housing and health, social inclusion, financial stability and independence, and its work in Alfreton mainly focuses on helping young people but that does not limit their services for other issues, such as rough sleeping and homelessness.

It can help arrange accommodation for young people aged 16 to 21, and it can provide support around debt and housing issues to 18 to 24 year olds.

Claire Windebank, the charity's operations manager, told the Spirit that Framework has always provided support to those in need in Derbyshire and that the number of units - or bed spaces - are increasing with time.

Today they have more units than ever before in Alfreton.

P3 works across the UK in areas such as homelessness prevention, street outreach, youth services, supported housing, criminal justice services, mental health support and much more.

Rebecca Harrington-Leigh, P3’s director of services, told the Spirit that the charity's Derbyshire Outreach Team (DOT), which helps people who are sleeping rough on the streets, started at the end of 2019, not long before the beginning of the pandemic.

In Amber Valley, P3 also offers supported accommodation to people experiencing mental health issues. This service offers accommodation, support to live in the community and a support worker.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

Both Claire and Rebecca agreed that 2020 was the most difficult year for their charities so far.

"I don’t think I can compare it to anything else", said Rebecca.

Framework’s priority during the pandemic was the Step Up service, a 24-hour housing service that provides accommodation and support to young people.

"There were logistical issues with staffing – people testing positive or coming into contact with people that were positive and all the rest of it," Claire explained.

Despite all the difficulties and challenges, Framework will continue using some of the techniques they had to implement because of the pandemic.

At the beginning of the pandemic the biggest challenge for P3 was that services closed. People working from home meant that there wasn’t provision that would be needed, said Rebecca.

She said: "[P3 was] out there supporting people without the usual support networks being available. That was really difficult to start with. That changed down the line, we got partners back at work, but at first that was very difficult.”

Framework hosted a fundraising campaign in April called 'Level up', an event supporting Framework’s campaign to end digital exclusion among homeless young people.

Looking forward

Framework will continue helping young people in Alfreton. Their services cover a range of different circumstances an individual could be in and includes housing advice, as well as support for other issues too.

P3 will continue with the Derbyshire Outreach Team (DOT) service.

Rebecca said P3’s plan for the future is to keep people of the streets, a mission they have worked on before and during the pandemic. For example, the charity launched the 'Keeping Everyone In' project in October.

The project assists people with complex needs to access and sustain suitable accommodation and delivers ongoing, wrap-around support. It compliments and collaborates with the existing outreach service, DOT, who support people to exit the streets across Derbyshire and the Staffordshire Moorlands.

If you see someone sleeping rough in Derbyshire or Staffordshire Moorlands, please call DOT on (freephone) 0808 1968 199 or go to: www.p3charity.org/dot

There are many different ways to help Framework’s cause – from donating, spreading the word and volunteering. Find out more here: https://www.frameworkha.org/


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