Rough-sleepers across Liverpool city centre are being housed in apart-hotels to help turn their lives around.
Covid-19 restrictions have meant that organisations such as the Whitechapel Centre have had to rethink how they will support the homeless now multiple people cannot mix in their centres.
The new system of putting people up in temporary apart-hotels has seen lockdown having a positive impact on some people’s lives.
Head of fundraising for the Whitechapel Centre, Ruth Mc Cauley said: “It was an opportunity for many people to make changes to their lifestyle. Since March we’ve helped over 100 people move out of those aparthotels and into permanent accommodation. For some, Covid has been life changing in a positive way.”
Whilst previous strategies such as “Always Room Inside ” and “No Second Night Out” have led to some success in rehousing rough sleepers and the homeless, this latest approach has been welcomed.
Greenbank Ward Green Party Cllr, Lawrence Brown said: “It has taken the government 12 years and a pandemic to come round to a sensible solution to rough sleeping. We agree with the government doing this but they have been very very slow.
“We want to see that there is some sort of way to rationalise why we have more billionaires than ever before but more food banks than ever before. We have a widening gap between the very rich and the very poor in society.”
A recent Liverpool City Council cabinet report includes the plans for 40 one bedroom apartments to be built. They are going to be accessible for all, which will include the disabled and the elderly.
One person who would benefit from the new builds is rough sleeper Kate Garther. The 28-year-old said: “It’s getting harder each week to try and get the money together. I am here on these streets most nights and when lockdown happened it was so scary not to see anyone. I am just happy people are back, I hope the help gets easier now.”
Many organisations still supported rough sleepers throughout lockdown and provided food and drink whilst the city amended to the new rules.
The Whitechapel Centre is remodelling its Langdale Centre where large rooms will be turned into four smaller meeting rooms to try and keep supporting people across the holidays.
They have launched an appeal to encourage people to buy rough sleepers ‘virtual donations’ instead of dropping off their usual packages at the centre. This includes a £25 christmas food hamper for those who are staying with them on the 25th December and £50 welcome packs for those who need a kitchen starter set once they are rehoused.
For more information or to donate HERE.