Update on The Connection’s services during the second national lockdown
We have reviewed the new lockdown restrictions and are pleased to confirm that for now we are able to continue to safely open our day centre.
We have a number of procedures already in place following our re-opening in August that we will continue to implement to keep everyone as safe as possible.
There are still people who need our support on the streets of London and we recognise the importance of having an accessible service where people are provided with basic amenities, a friendly face and in-person support to begin their journey away from homelessness.
In this fast moving situation, we will keep updating this page regularly.
How we helped people during the Covid-19 pandemic…
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact in the way we work at The Connection. On Friday 20th March, we had to close our centre on Adelaide Street to clients. We then immediately focused on finding suitable accommodation for everyone to enable them to self-isolate and stay safe and well.
We remained on the frontline running two hotels during this time; delivering regular meals, offering access to nurses, supporting people to access drug and alcohol treatment and undertaking remote casework.
We’ve seen some huge successes in hotels so far. For some people, this is the first time they have had the stability of a roof over their heads and regular meals for many years. It’s given us a solid foundation from which to work with them to provide the support needed to move into longer term accommodation.
Across Westminster, over 350 people were helped into hotels during the pandemic. Of those, over 260 have since been given an alternative accommodation offer. This is an incredible achievement and one we should be very proud of. We are very thankful for the way partners have worked together to make this happen so efficiently.
There are currently some people that do not have alternative accommodation in place – because of this, Westminster City Council have extended hotel provision for these people, to ensure that they still receive the support they need to get another accommodation offer, and that they do not need to return to the streets.
We are now turning our attention towards how to safely reopen our premises at Adelaide Street.
On Monday 13th July, we restarted our outreach shifts. These are critical in connecting with rough sleepers, forming relationships and supporting them away from the streets.
On Monday 3rd August, our day centre opened its doors once more. To ensure that we can offer a service safely and in line with Covid-19 restrictions, we have to reduce the number of people allowed in the building. We can currently see 40 people in the centre each day.
To help with this, we are currently only seeing people who have a referral – for example from health services, Westminster City Council or outreach teams.
We are also prioritising people who are rough sleeping. People who have accommodation and are known to us can still access remote support.
People who are rough sleeping and have not seen an outreach worker can contact StreetLink on 0300 500 0914 or www.streetlink.org.uk
We have not yet opened our Emergency Accommodation (night centre). This is the current guidance of Public Health England (PHE). We are working closely with Public Health England to identify how we can safely reopen in a Covid-secure way. This will likely involve PPE and significantly reduced numbers to enable social distancing to take place.
Opening The Bridge accommodation project
In October we were thrilled to open The Bridge, our new 6-month accommodation project! The Bridge will house people who are rough sleeping in Westminster and waiting on their permanent home.
All residents will have their own self-contained bedroom, bathroom and cooking facilities and our amazing Emergency Accommodation team will be on-hand providing around the clock support. Residents will be provided with 3 meals a day and laundry facilities. They will also be able to see nurses, psychologists, drug and alcohol specialists and access other support as needed.
Watch our video below to find out more about how we helped during the pandemic…