Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness (KCAH) said it has helped 120 homeless people find accommodation during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The KCAH has 87 volunteers who have worked approximately 881 hours helping clean buildings and delivering meals to vulnerable people during the last national lockdown.
Sophie Mayor, night shelter coordinator for KCAH, said: “It’s been really great to be able to put so many people, who would otherwise be on the streets, into accommodation where they are safe and they have a bed.”
KCAH is a charity that supports single people facing housing crises in Kingston, helping them rebuild their lives. Its aim is to help people out of the “vicious circle of homelessness” through offering advice, shelter and food, as well as restoring self-esteem and confidence.
“We have KCAH staff, those who were shift leaders at the night shelter, are now working at the hotel to be that sort of friendly face that people remember they can go to if they’ve got any problems,” said Mayor.
Homelessness in England has been steadily increasing in recent years, with Kingston and Richmond boroughs both in the top 50 ‘hot spots’ for homelessness in the country, according to SPEAR.
It has a significant impact on people’s health and wellbeing, with the life expectancy of a homeless person thought to be 30 years less than that of the general population.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it further problems which the KCAH have worked hard to combat.
Matt Hatton, Chief Executive Officer at KCAH said: “As a frontline service, we have been at the forefront of the ‘Everyone In’ government directive to bring people in from the streets who may otherwise be rough sleeping – so they could feel safe too.”
The KCAH’s work to tackle homelessness in Kingston during the pandemic has been highly effective. Darren, a former homeless person, said: “People will start addressing some of the problems they have. None of it would be able to get done without the KCAH.”
The charity has helped people suffering with addiction and other mental health issues such as depression, and will continue to do so.
The KCAH provides a drop-in service for homeless people offering help on areas such as housing and benefits, accessing health services and securing accommodation.