An update to The Passage's response to Covid-19
2020/2021 UPDATE: The Passage’s Response to Covid-19:
Whilst lockdown across the whole United Kingdom has been eased, sharply reintroduced, and finally eased again with the final social restrictions being removed as per the terminus date of the Governments roadmap on July 19th, the issue of homelessness during the last 15 months of national uncertainty due to Covid-19 has sadly not gone away.
At the start of the Pandemic in March 2020, we managed to successfully move all our clients into temporary hotel accommodation. Since then, we have supported 104 of our clients from Passage House, our 28-day Assessment Centre, to positively move-on to new housing. Newman Street, another project of ours to has worked with 117 clients and assisted 48 to move into their own home; whilst the team at Montfort, a long-term housing project which contains 16 private studio flats and supports those with complex support needs, were able to support 6 people to move into their own home independently.
Further to this, within our Resource Centre, our Private Rented Solutions team helped a further 104 clients to move on from temporary hotel accommodation into private rented housing.
During lockdowns, when Passage clients were being supported in hotel accommodation, The Passage prepared and delivered around 94,000 meals to clients across our various sites. This herculean attempt to keep our clients fed was down to the hard work from both staff and our volunteer army as well as the generous donations from our partners and supporters.
During the Government’s successful and fast-paced rollout of the Covid-19 Vaccine, we at The Passage eagerly wished to get involved and help vaccinate rough sleepers in Westminster and those who are in insecure accommodation. As the street community can be more susceptible to physical and mental illness. Therefore, ensuring that they possess the information and the accessibility to both vaccines is of critical importance.
On the 19th of May, we had a visit to our mobile Vaccination Hub by the Vaccine Minister Mr. Nadhim Zahawi MP, local MP Ms. Nickie Aitken MP and the Minister for Rough Sleeping Mr. Eddie Hughes MP to celebrate The Passage’s vaccination hub. On the 21st of July, we hosted a Health and Wellbeing Open Day where not only could our clients receive a first or second dose of the vaccine but also, they were provided with healthcare and information in how to find a meaningful job and other support to transform their lives.
Our excellent Resource Centre Services over the last year supported 989 individuals with a variety of complex issues. Ultimately employment is a crucial mechanism in ending the cycle of homelessness, often giving individuals a sense of social inclusion, self-worth and empowerment whilst gaining the economic mobility needed to secure stable housing. To that end, over the last year the Employment Training and Education team in our Resource Centre tirelessly worked to help gain meaningful employment for 61 of our clients.
IMMIGRATION AND MODERN SLAVERY SERVICE:
At The Passage we have an in-house solicitor who over the last year has helped to resolve the immigration status of 19 clients. 105 of our clients who originate from countries in The European Union were assisted in ascertaining pre-settled or settle status. A further 60 clients with no recourse to public funds were able to secure a route away from the street with the help of our migrant support service.
One of the important services that The Passage offers is our pioneering work in Modern Slavery as homeless people are often a group at risk of exploitation. Over the last year this service supported 34 survivors of Modern Slavery. We also trained 60 professionals in developing a comprehensive multiagency response for survivors of modern slavery and engaged with 542 people through our webinars, which offer a better understanding of the initial signs of Modern Slavery and how to support survivors.
These important services available to our clients would not have been possible without the incredible work of our frontline staff.
The Passage's response to Covid-19
The Coronavirus crisis is a public health emergency and presents a serious threat to people rough sleeping or living in insecure accommodation.
The UK lockdown has meant homeless people are even more vulnerable - many already have poor health and are unable to access their usual support services and shelters. This crisis has completely changed the landscape for The Passage, we have had to rapidly adapt our service-model to provide an emergency frontline response. Our mission is to keep clients safe from Covid-19 by helping them into places of safety as quickly as possible.
This is a serious challenge and a matter of saving lives.
All The Passage’s clients who are street homeless have safely moved in to suitable emergency accommodation in hotels, B&Bs and hostels, where their support needs can be met and they can self-isolate if necessary.
The street count in Westminster indicates a reduction of rough sleepers by 70%.
Our three accommodation projects remain open, with provision for 140 clients to access medical care and to self-isolate as necessary.
Passage frontline staff have relocated to emergency accommodation to provide 24hr care and support to clients with complex needs. Other staff have been redeployed to provide floating support for clients in their new accommodation - continued engagement will help to minimise the likelihood of clients leaving their accommodation and returning to the streets, where it is not safe.
The Passage are taking clean clothing, toiletries, games and books to clients in emergency accommodation who have no access to laundry facilities, shops or social activities
Our Resource Centre has become the central provider of all food to the entire homeless community in Westminster. Before the pandemic, our business as usual service would see up to 150 clients daily; now, Head Chef Claudette and her army of volunteers are preparing and delivering over 320 meal packages every day.
The Passage are working on a Covid-19 exit strategy to support our current clients and meet an unprecedented demand for support services from the millions of individuals recently out of work.
In July, our Resource Centre will re-open (with social distancing in place) as an Advice and Support Hub. Access will be by appointment, with time for food, welfare checks, and support sessions for each individual. The focus will be on helping clients into employment with tailored support packages to suit varied needs. We will also set up a virtual volunteer-client partnership programme to provide emotional support to cope with the challenges of daily life, and the pressure of returning to or changes in employment.
We are working hard to prevent those that are now safely in emergency accommodation being left with no alternative but to return to the street when the crisis finally subsides. Passage Case Workers are undertaking resettlement assessments with clients to help them to secure sustainable accommodation in the private rented sector. Private rentals are often let unfurnished; so we are also seeking funding to secure starter packs that include kitchen essentials, bedding, toiletries, and in some cases furniture, mobiles and laptops too.
By taking measures to make their new accommodation feels like home, and keeping in touch virtually, we hope to make our clients feel safe and comfortable enough to maintain their tenancies; leading to a drastic reduction of people sleeping rough in Westminster. Something that is long overdue. This will enable The Passage to focus resources on prevention initiatives for those recently unemployed as a result of Covid-19.
FUNDRAISER TO FEED LONDON’S HOMELESS #DonateYourDinner
The Passage asks celebrity chefs and the public to share recipes and fund vital food parcels
One of the UK’s largest homeless charities, The Passage, is launching an urgent #DonateYourDinner campaign to help feed London’s homeless community during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Supported by Nadiya Hussain, the celebrity chef comments on the campaign: “Let’s not let homelessness become normal. Let’s not walk past.”
The UK lockdown has meant homeless people are even more vulnerable, with many shelters having to close their doors. The Passage, based in Westminster, has supported hundreds of rough sleepers into emergency accommodation over the past few weeks.
The charity is continuing to provide vital support, including preparing and delivering hot meals to over 300 people helped off the streets and into accommodation, seven days a week.
The Head Chef Claudette Dawkins and her army of volunteers in The Passage kitchen have created a brand new Food Hub, preparing hot, nutritious meals and are hoping for inspiration from celebrity chefs who have been asked to provide recipes.
It costs £10 to provide a food parcel to a homeless person every evening which includes a hot meal as well as breakfast and lunch for the next day. The Passage needs to raise** over £300,000** to ensure London’s homeless don’t go hungry.
The Passage’s CEO, Mick Clarke said, “our priority is to ensure that homeless people have somewhere safe to stay, are well fed and do not return to the streets. We are asking people to donate £10 to help fund a daily food parcel for one homeless person. At this time of lockdown, when many of us are unable to enjoy a meal with family and friends, we also encourage people to join us on social media to celebrate food by sharing recipes and their dining experiences.”
The #DonateYourDinner campaign is asking people to post a photo or video of people making and eating dinner. Today, food has never played a more important role in our lives. The Passage hopes to recognise this by bringing people together to celebrate food and encourage the public to share their own ‘dinner’ experiences.
People can donate by visiting our website at passage.org.uk/get-involved/dinner/