It's Lock-down 3.0- but what do the figures show??

The everyone in scheme is still going and was renewed on January 8th in lieu of the 3rd lockdown. Alongside this there has also been a drive to get everyone staying in temporary accommodation registered with a GP so that they might receive the vaccine alongside everyone else. This is a great achievement and so many heart warming stories have come from this scheme with people finding permanent accommodation, safety and security. The Prince Rupert hotel in Shrewsbury has housed over 80 people during the coronavirus pandemic and 55 of these have now found permanent accommodation. Furthermore, the owner reported that he felt his guests had now become family and they celebrated a lovely Christmas as any family would.

However, it is important to think about those that the government net might have missed. Those that are not fortunate enough to be in temporary accommodation and how the pandemic might have changed life for them. For instance, I was reading about how the closure of public toilets was a stressful and problematic issue for those with certain health conditions, but the same applies to the homeless who may have relied upon these facilities. Furthermore, sanctions such as not being allowed into shops without a mask are crucial for helping to contain the virus however leave homeless people in a near impossible situation. Without a washing machine having a cotton mask is impossible (if it is to be used effectively) and so fresh, clean masks are required constantly. This is very difficult and may leave a person with a choice of food or mask.

Mental health conditions are also much more prominent within the homeless community compared to the general population, and social isolation must be a huge issue for many in the pandemic. With less people out and about town and those who are walking quickly wearing masks, homeless people must feel nigh on invisible. However, this at least is a problem we can help with. If everyone stops just to ask someone’s name, introduce themselves and say “how are you” it could really change someone’s day. Just be mindful that everyone is finding this pandemic hard, but the end is in sight and kindness costs nothing.

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HOMED is a charity run by students @LeedsUniUnion to promote understanding of and encourage engagement with issues relating to homelessness in Leeds.

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