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photo: Caseworker Jasmiina advises a guest at one of our hostel sites.

22 December 2020

Following the new Tier 4 restrictions in London introduced at midnight on Sunday 27 December, Glass Door made changes to its services and curtailed its Christmas plans.

All services remain open, and we will continue to support those facing homelessness this winter. However, staff raise alarms that the changes will leave people who are homeless more isolated, which may have an impact on their mental health.

Changes in the hostel service

Some of those staying in our single room accommodation during this pandemic were originally planning to visit loved ones for Christmas. However, guests have now been told this will no longer be permitted.  

“Unfortunately, mixing with family and friends this Christmas is no longer possible," says Megan Preston, Glass Door’s Service Development Manager. While most guests have understood the rationale behind the changes, Megan is concerned about the negative impact these changes may have:

For many, maintaining or rebuilding relationships with family and friends is crucial for their well-being. Having stability, social connections and a support network often plays a key role in their path out of homelessness.

Keeping in mind the importance of guests' mental health, caseworkers and front-line staff will continue to work with guests and be vigilant for signs of isolation over the festive period. Megan adds:

We’re doing all that we can to make this Christmas a thoughtful one for our guests, with hostel staff writing Christmas cards and giving presents that have been kindly donated.

Staff had originally planned to host groups of up to six hostel guests, spaced two metres apart, in our dining areas on Christmas day for a festive meal. However, the Christmas group dinner has been cancelled. Instead, guests will need to eat their Christmas dinner alone in their bedrooms.

Changes to the community dinner service

Our dinner services remain open. However, people are encouraged to take their meal in to-go containers rather than eat inside the church venues that host the service. Anyone who is extremely vulnerable or has nowhere else to eat will still be allowed inside where possible. 

The changes are meant to reduce the risk of contagion, but staff are concerned for those who rely on the dinner service for the social interaction. Megan says:

Sadly, as so many other people across the country will know, Christmas this year will not be the same. But for those already facing anxiety about the future, social isolation and loneliness, this Christmas will be even harder.

Casework service continues

Glass Door caseworkers are on hand at the hostels and onsite at partnering drop-in centres to provide personalised support to everyone who turns to Glass Door. Casework is deemed an essential service and remains in place throughout the pandemic. 

If you, or someone you know, is affected by homelessness this Christmas, please visit Glass Door's help and support page or call the Service Hotline on 0208 0166 838.

Unfortunately, our hostel service is oversubscribed and we are not currently accepting new referrals for the waiting list. However, anyone in need of a hot meal is encouraged to attend our community dinner services.