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Photo by Ken Olisa - own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Sir Kenneth Olisa: Praise for how quickly All People All Places reacted to the Covid crisis

Quick work by a local homelessness charity to "bring everyone in" when the Covid-19 pandemic struck has been officially recognised by the Queen's representative in Greater London.

Sir Kenneth Olisa, Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, has personally thanked All People All Places (APAP) for its tireless work to accommodate rough sleepers as the country went into lockdown.

The charity has been working in Enfield and Haringey for more than ten years, providing accommodation, advice and support aimed at helping people break the cycle of homelessness.

When lockdown restrictions were imposed in March, the government issued a directive to local authorities to "bring everyone in", presenting homelessness services with the unprecedented task of creating safe spaces for vulnerable people, including entrenched rough sleepers who have previously been wary of accessing services.

By teaming up with local authorities, APAP was able to turn a former care home and a local hotel into shelters where vulnerable rough sleepers could be shielded from the virus. Setting up the shelters, which provided shielding for more than a hundred people, took less than a fortnight, prompting Sir Kenneth to comment on "how quickly [All People All Places] have reacted to the crisis and so continue to help the homeless across Haringey and Enfield".

Conor Cregan, services manager at All People All Places said:

“The COVID-19 crisis posed a huge risk to homeless people and the past few months have been an extremely challenging time to keep everyone safe. We have seen a huge community effort and our charity has been working hard alongside several local mutual aid groups, local residents and businesses to provide food, shelter and care to the guests at our projects.”

The challenge facing the homelessness sector now is keeping "everyone in".

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Rev Melanie Smith: Looking for new social landlords

Historically, All People All Places has provided emergency bed spaces in church halls in the cold winter months. But in the coming months it will face new challenges, as job losses due to the pandemic will lead to an increase in homelessness and more people will face sleeping in the street.

The charity's Chair of Trustees, Rev Melanie Smith, is calling for more volunteers and for donations and is encouraging people with buy-to-let properties to work with All People All Places to become social landlords, providing more vital accommodation to those in need:

“There has always been a great tradition of community support to help homeless people in London. We are now asking for more support. We are looking for properties to provide accommodation, especially for people have never been homeless before. Our aim is to provide a safety net to those who have lost their employment because of Covid-19.”

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The objective of the charity is to break the cycle of homelessness for our clients and enable them to improve their lives and reintegrate into mainstream society. As well as warmth and shelter, we offer assistance in the following areas to help our guests break the cycle of homelessness:

  • A casework service – offering advice, advocacy and practical support to help find solutions to homelessness.
  • Assist in providing move on accommodation and move on packs of food and bedding.
  • Coordinate support and signposting to health and wellbeing services.

We regularly achieve tenancies for more than 70 per cent of our clients.

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