The rapid developments with the coronavirus outbreak make both knowing where to turn for support and how to help very difficult. One particularly vulnerable group are the homeless community, for whom self-isolating is very difficult. Rough sleepers often suffer from poor physical health and pre-existing medical conditions. These factors combined with the cold winter weather we are experiencing place the homeless at greater risk of harm.
If you are worried about a homeless person in the Marble Arch area, please get in touch with StreetLink. StreetLink helps connect individuals to local support services. You can contact StreetLink via their website, app or by calling 0300 500 0914.
If the temperature drops below freezing, Westminster outreach workers will engage the Serious Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) to ensure rough sleepers are not at harm during periods of colder weather. As a result of COVID-19, outreach services are currently working hard to source single bed accommodation to keep rough sleeper safe. If you come across a rough sleeper you believe are experiencing hypothermia type symptoms, please dial 999.
According to the NHS- Hypothermia is the dangerous drop in body temperature below 35C. Common symptoms include:
- pale, cold and dry skin – their skin and lips may be blue
- slurred speech
- slow breathing
- tiredness or confusion
Many of the homeless services in the local area have had to adapt their services to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please find an updated summary of local Westminster provisions below:
- The Marylebone Project: The drop-in day centre has had to close its doors, but the women’s shelter is open and looking after its 112 residents. Staff are on site to run the service and to receive donations. Access to the charity is currently by appointment only.
- The Connection at St Martin in the Fields: The day centre will be remaining open four days a week (closed Wednesday) and will continue to provide vital emotional and practical facilities for rough sleepers in Westminster. Unfortunately, the charities emergency night shelter has had to close temporarily. For more information on the charities services please visit their website or call 020 7766 5544. Individuals are required an appointment to ensure the charity can manage effective social distancing.
- The Passage is continuing to provide support, food, and healthcare services via their Resource Centre in Victoria which is open Monday-Friday (11am-3pm). Please see their website or call for 020 7592 1850 for more information. Individuals are required to make an appointment to ensure the charity can manage effective social distancing.
If you would like more information about how you can support the homeless community during the current crisis, you are looking to make a donation to a local homelessness charity or you are a homeless person in Marble Arch in need of further information, please get in touch and we’ll do all we can to help.