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25 September 2020

Glass Door is adapting its services in line with new regulations. Those in need will still be able to find food, shelter and support this winter. (To find out how to access these programmes, see the "Find Help" section of the website).

With the economic impact of the pandemic due to hit hard over the coming months, more people will find themselves in need of shelter and support.  

Glass Door CEO Lucy Abraham says: 

This could be our toughest winter yet. We are facing the additional challenge of keeping everyone safe while Covid-19 is still at large. That’s why we will be offering vital shelter, food and support in a new way this winter.

Adapting our services

The usual model of church-based shelters is not allowed under current Covid-19 government guidance.

"We are expecting new guidance to come out over the next few weeks, but we expect the restrictions on shelters with shared airspace will continue,” says operations manager Matt Falk.

Glass Door is working towards a new model that will involve individual rooms for people experiencing homelessness and a separate dinner service to provide food to those in need in the community.  

Says Matt 

We are changing our model so that we can still provide necessities like shelter and food in a safe way to as many people in need as we possibly can.

Rooms replace shelters

For the coldest months of the winterGlass Door aims to provide Covid-safe single-occupancy rooms in two hostels in central London.  

Once planning is finalised, Glass Door staff will be on-site around the clock in each hostel, meals will be provided and guests will also have access to and increased contact with our caseworkers.  

By providing a stable environment, the casework team can then better support those who stay in these emergency-type hostels to access more permanent housing and employment,” says Matt.

Dinner service

Glass Door also plans to deliver a dinner service in partnership with local churches in four London boroughs: Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, Richmond and Wandsworth. 

People in need will be able to access the dinner service, with meals cooked and prepared by volunteers, every evening from early November until early April. Those who use the service also will be able to find food, water and other forms of practical support (such as phones and toiletries).

The service also provides an opportunity for people to engage with Glass Door caseworkers who give advice and support to move beyond homelessness. 

If government guidance changes and the right resources are in place, we will be ready to convert some of our dinner service venues into static night shelter venues. This will allow us to offer shelter to even more people if and when it is safe to do so, Matt adds. 

An urgent situation 

Individuals who have become newly homeless due to the pandemic are already turning to the charity. Glass Door staff expect these numbers to increase as the economic impact of Covid-19 starts to affect even more people.  

According to the latest CHAIN (Combined Homelessness and Information Network) report, 4,227 people were seen sleeping rough on the streets of London between April and June 2020, an increase of 33% compared to the same period in 2019. 

Stay tuned 

Our work to support those who needed us throughout the pandemic was made possible thanks to our loyal volunteers, partners and funders," says Lucy. She adds:

Your support will be even more vital as we work together to launch this new model. We are excited to sharefurther details about our plans for this winter as they are finalised.

Keep an eye on our news page for updates. For a more detailed overview of the situation so far, check out our video to volunteers from CEO Lucy Abraham and the operations team.   

To support someone who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets this winter: 

Join the Sleep Out on 2 Oct