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Ruth McCaughley, fundraising manager at The Whitechapel Centre, said staff were working hard to relocate people who are homeless into self-contained accommodation where the risk of contracting and potentially passing on the virus would be reduced.
“The accommodation at Labre House is communal and so, in the current climate, it’s not a good environment to be in,” said Ruth. “So we are hoping to move people within hours and days, ideally we want to get everyone into self-contained accommodation.
“We are working with B&Bs, private landlords and hotels across the city to try to get everybody indoors. It’s not easy, especially as some have certain needs around access. We are days away from being able to move everybody but we are doing our best to ensure it happens as quickly as possible.”
Ruth said the charity was trying to make sure those people who looked to it for help were aware of why the changes were happening and help them understand the severity of the situation.
Once indoors staff would try to make sure they stayed indoors, carrying out welfare checks, and dropping off food parcels.
“They are challenging times,” she added. “As they are for everybody and they change on an hourly basis. One of the bigger concerns too is that many of our clients have underlying health issues.”
The Centre has been inundated with donations from restaurants who have had to close and those, says Ruth, have been welcomed.
But with public donations now having had to be stopped she appealed to the public to consider monetary donations to help the charity continue its vital work.
“We are really grateful for the food we have had from restaurants which have enabled us to start making up food items but we feel that is the feast before the famine,” adds Ruth. “We will have to go out and buy other things to fill the parcels and, like most charities, we are seeing a drop in funds at a time when we really need that support although, again understandably, people are worried about their own situations.”
She said any donations people could make would be very welcome and gratefully received.
Ruth stressed that The Whitechapel Centre would still be available for advice and support, online and via the telephone.
“We need to make sure that people on the streets are off the streets, but make sure no one else becomes homeless because of the current situation.
“And while we may not be able to see people face to face, we will be here with help and advice for people who are currently homeless and those who are at risk of becoming homeless. Help and support can still be accessed.”
The Papercup Project which visits Liverpool’s homeless each Monday evening with food and care packages made its final visit to the city centre last night before the UK lockdown was announced. Michelle Langan who leads the team sent us the following video:
The amazing @PapercupLPL sent us some videos last night, their last night of visits to the city’s homeless for a while ?❤️
— The Guide Liverpool (@TheGuideLpool) March 24, 2020
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