Today I paid a visit to Clapham Common homelessness hub Ace of Clubs to discuss how they’ve adapted their services during the pandemic and the challenges they’re preparing for over the coming winter. At their centre on St Alphonsus Road, they provide shelter, food, warmth, clothing, laundry and showers to people in desperate circumstances.
Since 2010, voluntary organisations in Streatham have increasingly plugged the gaps left by austerity in day-to-day government. For many charities, COVID-19 has simply meant increased demand with reduced incomes. Just today, we heard that the sector is facing up to 60,000 jobs losses.
Prior to the pandemic, rough sleeping had more than doubled since 2010 and the onset of austerity. The Government’s Everyone In scheme was a reminder of how comparatively little money it takes to get people off the streets and into temporary shelter. Their subsequent decision to quietly shelve it is a reminder of of how little they care about the issue outside of extraordinary circumstances.
Rising homelessness is a symptom of a system where housing is seen as an asset rather than a human right. The top priority must always be preventing homelessness in the first place but it’s also important to improve our patchy social safety net for those who do fall on hard times.
You can find out more about the work Ace of Clubs do over at their website: http://aceofclubs.org.uk/
If you or someone you know is facing homelessness, please reach out to my office: firstname.lastname@example.org