Caritas Anchor House is a homelessness charity that provides accommodation and life-skills support for single homeless adults. The charity is based in Newham, the area in which both homelessness and the death rate from Covid-19 is highest in the country. In 2019, Caritas Anchor House provided a home to 202 people, supported 43 into employment, and 48 into independent living.
Covid-19 has had a huge impact on those who were living on the streets. But the effects of the pandemic can also be acutely felt by organisations that were already supporting people in sheltered housing schemes.
“Throughout this global pandemic, it’s been essential that we carry on providing a home and support to those people who really need it,” says Jazmine Sandison from Caritas Anchor House, “but of course we’ve had to adapt our ways of working in line with Government and Public Health England guidance."
As part of government measures to help stop the spread of Covid-19, organisations offering accommodation must take extra steps to ensure infection rates remain low.
“This certainly hasn’t been easy, and we’ve faced many challenges along the way. These include residents with complex support needs struggling with our move towards telephone support and having to restrict the use of communal facilities such as our kitchen and laundry - which are shared by 140 people.
But a grant of £5,000 through the London Communities Response portal from National Emergencies Trust funding, helped to ensure the frequent cleaning of the building and enabled us to secure food to reduce the number of trips residents have to make outside of the building, as well as use of their communal kitchen.
Tony, who is a current resident at Caritas Anchor House, said, "In this lockdown, there have been ups and downs. Being here at Anchor House has made it a lot easier for me; I can self-isolate in a safe environment, if I need to talk to someone I can just pick up the phone… There’s been a very good support network here."
Marcus, another resident at Caritas Anchor House, said; "I had relationship problems and I had to leave home. Caritas Anchor House has made it easier. In this time of isolation I have a place where I can be. They are very supportive, they call me on the telephone to make sure I’m OK. They're doing a tremendous job and I’m grateful for that."
"The grant from The London Community Foundation has helped to ensure that all of our residents have kept safe and well during such a challenging time, and we’re delighted to report that we haven’t had a single confirmed case of the virus in our resident group," Jazmin continues, "That’s been possible thanks to the work of our team, the cooperation of our residents, and the generous support we have received. From all of us at Caritas Anchor House, thank you for your support."