Owen used to run a mechanics business and owned a house in London, but was a victim of theft and fraud and lost both his business and his home.
“Until February I was working as a cleaner, paying my rent out of my earnings. Unfortunately my job ended and I could no longer afford my rent. I couldn’t apply for benefits as I was no recourse to public funds so I ended up on the streets. I slept rough for about a month, until we went into lockdown and I was picked up by an outreach worker.”
Crisis works with over 11,000 people a year across Britain, providing vital services and campaigning for the changes needed to end homelessness for good. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the team has continued to deliver its frontline services, adapting these to be delivered remotely wherever possible. Owen is one of those who has been supported off the streets during the pandemic.
“I have been placed in a hotel. I have my own room and shower and we get two meals a day which I am very grateful for, although I’m struggling as I can’t work and have no money. “I had some emergency cash from Crisis but everything you need to do is online these days, and I can’t read or write. This make me feel even more isolated.
“My literacy coach is still in touch but I worry about what will happen when lockdown is over. I’m praying I don’t end up having to sleep rough again.”
We have been supporting Crisis for more than six years, focusing on its employability work with members across London. We know that securing decent, sustainable work is one of the most effective ways to help someone end their homelessness. This year, our partnership enabled 52 people to take part in employability training, with 36 people successfully moving into a job.
Everything you need to do is online these days, and I can’t read or write. This makes me feel even more isolated.Owen
Carla is a young person with experience of care who was referred to Settle, an award-winning social enterprise, in June 2019. She was about to move into her first home when they got in touch.
Emily, who is 18 and from Greenwich, took part in The Money House programme this year: “I study Health and Social Care at college. I’m doing this course so I can learn how to manage my money.”
Jane is 24. She was made homeless after experiencing family breakdown, and found herself alternating between sleeping rough, sofa surfing, and staying in all-night bars to keep out of the cold.
The Berkeley Foundation is the working name of The Berkeley Charitable Foundation, a registered charity in England and Wales (Charity Number 1152596), a company registered in England and Wales (Registration Number 8548400).