We’re delighted to report that the Drop-in has now opened again on both Wednesdays and Fridays. We’ve expanded our support for rough sleepers, alongside the limited appointment-only system we had been running since the New Year. Homeless people are now provided with packed lunches, prepared in the kitchen by volunteers, can take a shower and have their laundry washed.
We’ve also helped homeless service users to be vaccinated; we ran information sessions in English and Polish, and an NHS nurse then vaccinated seven service users just before Easter. We’re grateful to Merton Council for their assistance with this, with whom we’ve also continued to liaise to support the newly homeless and those in temporary or vulnerable accommodation, always an important part of our work.
It‘s been a delight to welcome back some of our lovely volunteers; some delayed coming back while waiting for their vaccinations, but we’ve been pleased to assist them to get priority-vaccinated. All FiA staff have also been offered the vaccination, and have returned to work at the Drop-in.
We continue to enforce social distancing, and follow government advice and Salvation Army guidelines on how many people we can have in the building at any time. This will determine the extent to which we can further expand our services in the coming months. Sadly, we expect demand for our services to increase as unemployment rises, putting many local people’s accommodation at risk.
A good news story
One of our service users, who has been housed in a London hotel during the pandemic, was previously living in Scotland where he was summoned to appear in court. FiA paid for him to return to Scotland to appear in court three times, but each time his case was adjourned. This caused him a great deal of anxiety and his mental health deteriorated to the extent that he was admitted to hospital on several occasions. After a lot of work by our staff, his case has now been dropped without him having to return to Scotland.