On Monday 16 March, the Government published COVID-19 guidance for hostel and day centre services for people experiencing rough sleeping.

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, comments: “This is common sense, practical advice, but in several key areas it fails to provide the strong and detailed steer needed by those working in frontline services supporting people sleeping rough. Urgent action as well as clear accountability within local statutory services is needed to protect against huge fatalities among people who are homeless, and we look forward to seeing substantial guidance in the near future, to support and protect this community and those working with them.”

In particular, Homeless Link is calling for:

  • Clearer guidance for outreach services on the important role of identifying and working with people with or at risk of the virus
  • Stronger advice on how to create a route off the streets for people sleeping rough
  • Critical advice, backed by action and resources, to ensure we can support people who will struggle to self-isolate i.e. because they have no access to basic facilities including food
  • Reassurance that people with COVID-19 who are living on the streets will not face detention should the country be asked to go into wider self-isolation

HAB's Response to COVID-19

Clients remain at our core focus moving forwards and we will continue to support clients the best way we can.

Currently we are keeping critical services open for rough sleepers. We have asked clients who are housed not to use the Centre at this time and we will provide them with telephone support. We will keep updating this page regularly.

The people that we work with, particularly rough sleepers, often have long term conditions and poor physical health which means that they are at a greater risk should they become ill. For those without a home, it is also very difficult to self-isolate. We are therefore doing all that we can to keep people safe, by ensuring good hygiene in the centre, and we have plans in place to mitigate risk if any staff or clients display symptoms or test positive for the virus.

We are working closely with Barnet Homes to ensure a co-ordinated and sensible approach to supporting rough sleepers at this unprecedented and difficult time.