More than 1,000 of London’s homeless off the streets to self-isolate in hotels or safe locations during lockdown
- InterContinental, Travelodge and Best Western hotel groups providing rooms
- Charities St Mungo’s is leading efforts to accommodate rough sleepers
- Initiative is being funded by £10.55m grant from London Mayor and Government
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
More than one thousand homeless people in London are now safely self-isolating in hotels after being taken off the streets amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Rough sleepers are more likely to have underlying health conditions, particularly respiratory ones, than the rest of the population. They also have little access to handwashing or hygiene facilities.
So the Intercontinental Hotel Group, Travelodge, Best Western and Accor are all giving up rooms across the capital to make sure homeless Londoners are protected from the deadly virus.
The scheme is being run by homeless charity St Mungo’s and funded by a £10.55million grant from the Mayor of London and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Black cab drivers, who are suffering a chronic lack of jobs amid the shutdown, have also volunteered to drive rough sleepers to their new accommodation.
A homeless man is pictured on the streets of central London today amid the coronavirus lockdown
A catering company called Red Radish is providing all those signed up to the scheme with three meals a day.
From this week anyone who is homeless and develops symptoms of COVID-19 will be taken to a special care facility at a hotel in east London where their symptoms can be monitored properly.
The 11,329 coronavirus deaths across Britain does not include rough sleepers unless they were picked up by ambulances on patrol by chance and taken to hospital.
This makes it near impossible to decipher the scale of the virus crisis among the homeless population.
But as well as London, homeless people in other cities are also being offered greater protection from the deadly bug with the help of the Mungo’s scheme.
In Bournemouth, so far 55 people have been given spaces, with more to still to be housed. Everyone in isolation is being supported with phone calls and food deliveries.
In Bristol 150 people who were on the streets are now safely in accommodation and 50 people who were staying in St Mungo’s services in communal sleeping spaces have also been given alternative accommodation to self-isolate safely.
The Intercontinental Hotel Group (London hotel pictured), Travelodge, Best Western and Accor are all giving up rooms across the capital to make sure homeless Londoners are kept safe
Rough sleepers in Oxford, Reading and Brighton are also being assisted.
Staff in St Mungo’s accommodation services are following guidance from the Government and Public Health England to keep clients and staff safe, and together with sector partners, pushing for more from Government for our keyworkers and clients over coming months.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: ‘As we approach the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic it is more important than ever to ensure the most vulnerable Londoners are supported in clean, secure accommodation.
‘I’m proud that this outstanding coalition of compassionate organisations, charities and individuals have stepped up to the challenge.
‘The speed with which we have acted, and the willingness of multinational companies to work with us at this critical time, is testament to what can be achieved when we work together.
Travelodge is also taking part in the scheme and offering up rooms for the homeless in London
‘There is still much to do: more money, volunteers and hotel rooms will be required.
‘Looking ahead, my aim is to make sure that the ‘In for good’ principles are applied for all London’s rough sleepers – something that will require continued support from the Government.
‘I am confident that by working together we can help save the lives of many Londoners who would otherwise be facing the pandemic on the streets.’
Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP said: ‘This Government is committed to ensuring that those who are sleeping rough on our capital’s streets are protected from this pandemic.
‘Today’s news is the result of a real collaborative effort between the Government, the Mayor of London, local authorities, health providers and charities to provide help to those who are most in need during this national emergency.’
Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive, St Mungo’s added: ‘Our teams are working round the clock to support over 1,000 people who were living on the streets or in emergency hubs into hotel accommodation in London.
‘Thanks to the GLA and other partners, these vulnerable people are now in a place where they can self-isolate in safety, and are out of harm’s way.’
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