2021 has continued to be difficult for lots of us as we slowly emerge from the pandemic. More than ever, we’ve been reminded how much we depend on each other for connection, hope and support, and of the importance of a safe, secure home. Sadly, this Christmas thousands of people will be alone with nowhere to call home – and many will be experiencing their first without a secure and safe home this Christmas.
At Christmas and throughout the year, Crisis helps people directly out of homelessness and campaigns for the social changes needed to solve it altogether. Each Christmas we mobilise a unique volunteering effort to provide warmth, companionship and vital services to people facing homelessness.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of our Crisis Christmas centres. Back in 1971, Crisis volunteers hosted our very first ‘Open Christmas’ with shelter and food for people experiencing homelessness. Fast forward to 2021, and volunteers are still as integral as ever to our work during Christmas.
In planning for our services this Christmas, the welfare and safety of our guests has been at the forefront of all our decision making and our staff team have worked hard to come up with a plan to manage this risk, alongside ensuring that the support and housing needs of our guests are met.
Based on what we learned during the pandemic, we’ve decided to make some permanent changes to Crisis at Christmas to better support people sleeping rough, and those with underlying medical conditions. Some of the changes last year really helped us to engage guests in our year-round services, and looking forward, these changes will ultimately help us end more people’s homelessness.
Last year, guests really benefited from having their own room and bathroom facilities, with evidence that this is a more effective and dignified way to connect people with advice and support, setting them on a path out of homelessness. That’s why we’ll continue to provide hotel accommodation to those who would otherwise be spending Christmas on the streets from the 23rd of December to the 5th of January.
We are still committed to ensuring our members are not homeless and alone this Christmas. As such, we will be opening a number of day centres which will provide hot food, access to advice and guidance, companionship, health, wellbeing and activities. Guests and the organisations we work with really benefitted from our digital services last Christmas and we will be continuing offer these.
We are still committed to ensuring our members are not homeless and alone this Christmas. As such, we will be delivering hot food, ensuring that our members have access to advice and guidance, providing a befriending service, and online health, wellbeing and entertainment activities. This will enable us to continue to offer support and connection in a socially distanced way and will also provide some new volunteering opportunities across the regions of Great Britain.
Henry was working in a warehouse when Covid hit and his contract was terminated. He could no longer pay his rent and, without any support from his council, found himself forced into homelessness – on the streets and sleeping on buses.
Henry was referred to one of the hotels run by Crisis over Christmas last year. He had his own, warm room, three meals day and a Crisis coach who worked with him to deal with his depression and helped him to find somewhere to live when he left the hotel. Now, Henry is working as a carer. He says: “I have now managed to find work as a carer. Although it’s only three days a week it’s enough for me to pay for food while I am waiting for the council to find me somewhere to live.”
Your support helps us to help people just like Henry. Thank you.