Search

‘Don’t put the homeless at risk’ - Charity bosses’ plea to community

PUBLISHED: 14:35 25 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:35 25 March 2020

Norfolk councils and charities are scrambling to house rough sleepers, after a national edict to get the homeless off the streets. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norfolk councils and charities are scrambling to house rough sleepers, after a national edict to get the homeless off the streets. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A charity which supports the county’s homeless has implored people not to go out onto the streets to give people food, saying it puts both them and rough sleepers at risk of contracting coronavirus.

Dr Jan Sheldon, chief executive of St Martin's Housing Trust. Picture: St Martin'sDr Jan Sheldon, chief executive of St Martin's Housing Trust. Picture: St Martin's

Meanwhile, a Norfolk foodbank says an increase in demand coupled with a loss of volunteers has left it exceptionally busy.

The chief executive of St Martins Housing Trust, which supports homeless people across Norfolk, instead asked people to donate to charities which support the vulnerable.

Dr Jan Sheldon, chief executive, said the charity’s Pathways Service, which goes out into Norwich to support people, was providing Covid-19 information as well as introducing a number of other measures.

She said: “We have been giving out mobile phones and credit to people who need them so we can get information out to them quickly.

“We’re working through a detailed plan and we’re taking advice from Public Health England.”

Dr Sheldon said the charity had also introduced social distancing in its accommodation and removed shared sleeping spaces.

She said St Martin’s realised people wanted to support the homeless but said the most helpful thing they could do during the pandemic was donate to a charity.

“We urge people not to go out onto the streets to hand out food, people know where they can get food from so we would ask people not to risk that and not to put homeless people at risk but rest assured as our Pathways team are out and about,” she said.

Meanwhile, Matthew Scade, project manager at Waveney Foodbank, which has a number of centres, said the foodbank had been exceptionally busy over the last couple of weeks, trying to meet an increase in demand coupled with an unavoidable loss of some volunteers who were aged over 70.

He said: “Although our donations have gone up our stocks are 80pc of what they would normally be. One of our centre’ gave out 500kg of food last week, most give out 100kg to 350kg a week and we’ve got eight of those across south Norfolk.

“There’s a lot of food going out at the moment and not is much coming in.”

• Click here to subscribe to our daily coronavirus newsletter, with all the latest from where you live

https://t.email.archant.co.uk/lp/EDP_News_Alerts

If you value what this gives you, please consider supporting our work. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad. Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our community has ever faced, but if we all play our part we will defeat it. We're here to serve as your advocate and trusted source of local information.

In these testing times, your support is more important than ever. Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Norwich Evening News