The UK Vincentian Family is working to eradicate the poverty of homelessness – now and for all time.
“I am clear that there can be no going back to the streets as people move on from the emergency accommodation” Dame Louise Casey.
Opportunities come from Adversity – often quoted, doesn’t spring to mind about the pandemic! But – we are on the cusp of solving the homeless problem in the UK. “ We need to capture what we have done and keep doing it…” Dave Batchelor Depaul UK.
Dave Batchelor, has been team leader at the YHA Manchester Hostel, managed by Depaul UK. He adds; “It is a bit like when someone leaves school – if there is no follow up support, they will find life difficult.”
The scheme “Everyone in” led by Vincentian, Dame Louise Casey, Chair of the Institute for Global Homelessness, who is also head of the British government task force to tackles homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis, has got 15,000 homeless people into temporary accommodation in a matter of days.
Fear that the accommodation was only temporary, and the homeless would be back on the streets after 4th July re-opening of hotels, disappeared when Dame Louise Casey announced that councils will be given a further £105m to support rough sleepers.
Most of this is new funding, with £20m taken from existing government homelessness budgets. “This will make sure that local authorities and others don’t have to put people back out on the street. I think it would be, frankly, inhuman – because we’ve given people a taste of life off the street and a taste of life where you get your health looked after. The last think we want is for anyone to go back,” she said. The funding meant she could “guarantee” that nobody would have to leave to return to a life on the streets.
The Passage, Vincentian Homeless Shelter, London has been working hard to keep homeless people safe and fed. An army of 270 volunteers delivered over 61,687 meals to the homeless in emergency temporary accommodation.
Amanda is one of those housed and has spoken sensitively on a BBC phone-in on 24th June. Her feelings at finding herself cared for, in secure accommodation, are very poignant;
“I couldn’t believe it – I was almost too scared to get comfortable” Amanda described taking a shower, sleeping in a bed, saying “We’re finding our own identities again.”
- We can’t go back to before!? Let us ensure that the £16million of planned spending on drug and alcohol support for homeless people is determinedly put to good use.
- This is an extraordinary opportunity to end the adversity of homelessness. Let us work towards this.
- “Everyone In” has got to be the right policy for always. Let us pray that justice and charity, hand in hand, will make this happen.
Dee Mansi is a lay member of AIC and Vincentian Collaboration Commission; a retired School Principal, Schools Inspector and Leadership in Education Lecturer. Dee is Irish, living in London with her husband and son, she travels in Europe and beyond.
Opinions expressed are the author’s own views.