Charities fund longer Christmas stays for homeless in Westminster

Charities which put up more than 300 rough sleepers over Christmas have said they will let them stay there until January 28.

Crisis has joined St Mungo’s and The Passage to extend one of the hotel-based Crisis at Christmas services in Westminster so they do not have to live on the streets.

This came as Crisis at Christmas hotel services were set to close on Wednesday 5 January, having run for two full weeks over the festive period, providing homeless people with somewhere safe and warm to sleep plus three meals a day, companionship and expert advice from Crisis staff and volunteers.

The charities got a Winter Pressures Grant funded by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and plus Westminster City Council.

It provides essential protection from the immediate threat to life for people who would otherwise be on the streets – both from the dangers of the bitterly cold weather but also the threat of coronavirus.

It also gives time for Crisis to take people out of homelessness for good by providing guidance and support with jobs, homes and support.

Chief Executive at Crisis, Matt Downie, said: “There is no doubt that this opportunity will be transformative for our guests and will help many to leave homelessness behind for good.

Three weeks may not sound like a long time but it is when compared to spending night after night sleeping in the bitter cold, with the risk of COVID still high across London.

This additional time with guests provides an invaluable opportunity for our staff and volunteers to work with them on the long-term solutions to end their homelessness and link them in with the year-round support on offer to them from organisations like Crisis.

“I am delighted we have been able to work together with our sector and government colleagues to provide this. This is a great way to kick off 2022 and progress in our collective effort to end homelessness for good.”

Chief Executive at The Passage, Mick Clarke, said: “No one organisation can end homelessness by working in isolation; that’s why The Passage is proud to be working with Crisis and St. Mungo’s as part of the extension to the Crisis at Christmas Hotel provision. Together, we can help many more people to end their homelessness for good.”

Director of Rough Sleeping and Migrants at St Mungo’s, Petra Salva OBE said: “We are pleased to be collaborating with our colleagues from Crisis and The Passage on this important project.

“The dual threat of the cold weather and Covid 19 really does present a very real danger to those who are sleeping rough.

This extension will ensure that those most in need are safe, warm and can access the vital support needed to help them move off the streets for good; and supports St Mungo’s continued commitment to provide support 365 days a year to ensure everyone who wants to can have the chance to recover from homelessness.

“We have seen throughout the pandemic what can be done when we work together to achieve our shared aim of ending rough sleeping, and this is another great example of what is possible with a flexible ‘can-do’ approach and partnership working.”


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