In the UK, we recently marked the anniversary of the first lockdown. One of the success stories of the UK’s response to COVID-19 is the ‘Everyone In’ programme which led to 37,000 people facing rough sleeping being offered somewhere to stay during the lockdown. The medical journal ‘The Lancet’ estimated that this avoided 200,000 infections and saved over 200 lives.
Our Two Step team played their part in this by working in partnership with councils, night shelters, day centres and the Greater London Authority to house over 240 people since that first lockdown.
One of the people housed was Sonia. Like many, Sonia became homeless after a bereavement. When her husband died, she felt very isolated and moved to London to stay with a relative. After a few weeks, she was asked to move out and ended up in a homeless shelter. However, she did not lose hope. She found a job just as she was being referred to us but could not afford to pay rent in advance or her deposit. She was at risk of losing her job if she did not find somewhere to live.
Our team listened to her story, talked about what she could do, and supported her efforts to look for a room. She was so grateful for the compassion and support she received, that she wrote the following Christmas message to our colleague Daniela:
There is sadly likely to be an increase in homelessness as the furlough scheme and evictions ban ends. This is expected to lead to an increase in begging and rough sleeping. If you see or meet someone you think may be homeless, there is some helpful advice on the Two Step website regarding how to talk to someone on the street.Please get in touch if you have any questions about this as Two Step are planning to record a video soon that outlines how to help.
To read more about the work of Two Step, please visit our website here: https://twostep.org.uk.