On 27 March, the Government gave councils 48 hours to find emergency accommodation for all rough sleepers in England. Many are now housed in hotels and B&Bs, accommodation which is only available due to government restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which currently prevents these establishments from operating in their usual capacity. With concerns that, when these establishments reopen in their usual capacity, rough sleepers will be evicted back onto the streets, Caridon Foundation teamed up with Brent Council to help find supported accommodation for 30 individuals who will no longer have to fear the risk of homelessness.
According to Caridon Foundation, COVID-19 has exposed the existing homelessness crisis and highlighted the lack of one-bed housing provision that enables single homeless people to escape the state of homelessness. A worrying combination of factors, such as the limited supply of social and private rented accommodation coupled with the impending end to the Government’s emergency housing scheme, is putting already vulnerable people at even greater risk.
The Caridon Foundation, which offers housing related support to tenants who are deemed vulnerable within the community, has been actively housing vulnerable tenants across the south of England and providing aid such as food and other essential supplies throughout the global pandemic. As one of the worst hit regions in the country, suffering 142 deaths per 100,000 people, the requirement to find safe, long-term accommodation for vulnerable people throughout the London borough of Brent has been of paramount importance.
Founder of Caridon Foundation and CEO of Caridon Group, Mario Carrozzo, comments:
“If the budget and desire was there to end homelessness in the wake of a global pandemic, all but ending rough sleeping overnight, we cannot afford to go backwards. Our goal is to help as many rough sleepers as possible into supported accommodation and support them beyond this. The team have worked tirelessly with Brent Council to ensure individuals are not just placed in emergency accommodation and then left to fend for themselves, but offered supported accommodation, along with much needed professional assistance to establish the reasons behind an individual’s circumstances, address their challenges and help them move on to independent living.”
One couple, who have benefited from the collaboration of Brent Council and Caridon Foundation, had been homeless for two years, living every night with the fear that they would have their belongings stolen, or worse, have their tent set alight. Having originally been placed into emergency B&B accommodation, the couple were assessed by Caridon Foundation and offered supported accommodation in Watford. They said:
“The opportunity that was put forward to us was more than what we could have ever imaged. We found ourselves jumping for joy and could not believe a beautiful flat like this was being offered to us.
Opening the door for the first time after so long, felt like a dream! It wasn’t the same as when we first viewed it, it was even better! We couldn’t stop smiling. The Caridon staff have been amazing and are looking forward to receiving their support.”
Caridon Foundation has been working with Brent Council for the last 18 months. However, the outbreak of COVID-19 accelerated their requirements for supported accommodation to ensure they could prevent former rough sleepers from ending up back on the street.
Caridon Foundation is making regular contact with individuals, carrying out welfare checks to provide them with food deliveries and access to medical supplies, as well as running benefit entitlement assessments to make sure tenants are in receipt of the correct benefits. The aim is to help vulnerable tenants get back on track, ensure sustainability of the tenancy and in time help tenants transition into independent living.