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8 September 2020

By Lucy Abraham

What a strange and challenging year this has been for us all.

But among the uncertainty and confusion, there have been some small glimmers of hope. Some unearthed silver linings that point towards a new way of building our society, a glimpse of a future in which homelessness isn’t inevitable.

Change is possible

From the start of the pandemic, we’ve been heartened and encouraged by everybody’s positivity, creativity and desire to help in whatever way possible.

The #EveryoneIn scheme, through which the government moved thousands of rough sleepers into hotel accommodation almost over night, was a huge opportunity for many of our guests. We referred over 200 people into the hotels, some directly from our night shelters and others when they came to our office seeking help. The scheme proved that where there is collective willand crucially enough fundingchange is possible.

The challenge ahead

But we are by no means out of the woods yet. Many people remain in hotels with no clear path into long term accommodation in sight, due to their immigration status or their complex needs. Others never made it into the hotels or have lost their homes recently. And with almost a quarter of a million people at risk of losing their tenancy in coming months (according to Shelter), some in the sector are talking of a “tsunami” of homelessness once the economic impact of COVID-19 truly hits. 

One thing is clear: Glass Door’s services will be needed more than ever this coming winter. We remain committed to providing emergency accommodation for as many people as we possibly can.

Longer-term plans

The challenges of the new COVID world have forced us to adapt, to come up with new and creative ways to provide shelter and support. We’re consulting with our guests, volunteers and partner churches; very soon we will be in a position to confirm what our offer this winter will be.

Of course implementing a brand new service model will be both costly and complex to implement, at a time when traditional fundraising has become more and more difficult. The immediate influx of generosity from our supporters and donors to support our COVID efforts was both remarkable and heartwarming, but we are now starting to turn our attention back to the longer-term picture.

Time to come together

Once again, in this unusual year we’ve been forced to adapt. For our annual Sleep Out event, we’re running a virtual event alongside the physical one. So you can join join in online from your home or garden instead of traveling into central London. Please do consider signing up and taking part.

Now is the time to come together, innovate and build better models to provide shelter and support. I’m so glad you’re on the journey with us.

To support Glass Door and together move towards a future where no one has to sleep on the streets of London, join the Glass Door community.