Across the UK, members of the public have been told to stay at home, remain socially distanced, and self-isolate if they experience symptoms of the coronavirus.  

For Worksop’s homeless people, none of this is possible.

With nowhere permanent to stay during the lockdown, many homeless people have been left stranded and are staying at Hope House, our 24/7 emergency hostel. At Hope House, most spaces are communal and it remains very difficult to socially distance, let alone self-isolate.

 

Carl came to Hope House after finding himself homeless. He has heart disease and diabetes, and has been instructed by the government to stay indoors for 12 weeks.

"It’s frustrating being stuck inside all day. I’ve been doing this for 6 weeks now- I do all the cooking in the hostel and exercise as much as possible, so I’m trying to keep myself occupied.

“My health is very poor. If I get coronavirus I could die- but it's difficult to stay away from other people. It’s worrying for me sharing space with other people who are living here. They’re allowed to go out, and while they’re out you don’t know who they might have been into contact with. I could pick something up and get really ill.”

 

Brian has Emphysema and one working lung. If he contracts coronavirus, it would likely have a very serious impact on his health- but communal living makes self-isolation very difficult.  

“I wear a mask all day and keep myself to myself where I can. There’s people still coming in and out of the hostel all day which makes things hard, but I sit by myself and remain distanced.

“I’m keeping busy, working out in the garden and helping out where I can. It’s just one of those things- we need to keep going, the old bulldog spirit!”

 

Neil and his dog Junior have just moved into Hope House during the lockdown, as Hope House is the only service in the area still taking in homeless people. He explained how it’s difficult to make sure Junior can get enough exercise during lockdown.

“I walk Junior when I can but it’s hard. Things are quite tense in the hostel at the moment, with people being in each other’s space and that, but we are coping. I’m grateful I can keep Junior with me at Hope House.”

 

Lucy Binch, CEO of Hope Community Services, says the situation at Hope House is serious.

“Coronavirus has proven a significant challenge for everyone here at Hope. Staff and clients are taking it extremely seriously and we have put extra precautions in place to help people socially distance where possible. Our team of dedicated staff is working incredibly hard to make sure we can stay open and keep people safe.

However, an outbreak of the virus in the hostel would be disastrous. There is a real risk that some of our clients would become very seriously ill, and although we are doing everything we can, we need the public’s support to help prevent that from happening.”

 

At Hope, we need your help more than ever to ensure that we can provide a safe space for homeless people throughout coronavirus. We are low on critical funds to help us keep Hope House open and people like Carl, Brian and Neil safe- please donate today here.