During the lockdown, Harrogate Homeless Project (HHP) has continued to offer services to people who are experiencing homelessness in the district. Liz from the charity told us how they have reacted to they coronavirus pandemic:
Our day centre, Springboard, has been open throughout although we have had to introduce restrictions to services to ensure that social distancing and enhanced cleaning procedures can be followed. We have been a lifeline to street homeless people as one of the few agencies continuing face to face work during the pandemic. We have issued phones and charging banks, allowing homeless people to retain contact with their other support agencies, including drug and alcohol treatment. We have provided shower and laundry facilities to homeless people and takeaway food and drinks, so that basic support needs can be met.
Liaising very closely with Harrogate Borough Council's housing options team we have helped ensure that all rough sleepers were offered access to accommodation. Our staff are also making welfare calls to anyone who would usually use Springboard for support but has been unable to do so due to restrictions.
At our 16 bed hostel in the town centre, we have continued to provide accommodation and support, however due to the communal facilities the hostel remains at a reduced occupancy, on risk management grounds. We have detailed contingency plans in place to ensure that we are still able to keep services running in most eventualities.
The impact of covid-19 on HHP going forward will be huge, this is both in terms of reduced income due to the impact on fundraising activities and the reduced occupancy in the hostel, whilst staffing costs remain the same as we continue to provide 24 hour staff cover.
You can support HHP by playing the Local Lotto: https://www.thelocallotto.co.uk/support/harrogate-homeless-project
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