Since the lockdown began 15,000 people sleeping rough have been placed into emergency accommodation as part of the Everyone In government initiative. A new homeless COVID-19 Taskforce has been formed to prevent people returning to the streets. Young people we support who were street homeless or staying in night shelters have also accessed these COVID-19 hotels. We spoke with one of them to see how he is getting on while he has been left waiting to hear where he will be living next.
Before the lockdown Edi (22) had nowhere safe to call home. When the government announced that everyone had to stay home, he was sofa surfing at his friend’s but was asked to leave because the landlord saw him and gave his friend a warning: “I ended up sleeping in my friend’s car in London next to a station.”
We were already supporting Edi, and so referred him to Street Link and the housing options team of his local council, working closely with both. After a week on the streets, he was placed in a London hotel as part of the Covid-19 rough sleeping provision.
Previously Edi was studying to become an electrician, and he was using our employment, education, training support to help him achieve his potential and try to get into work.
“I’m looking for a job. I want to be a delivery driver and I have applied and I’m waiting to hear back. At the moment I’m thinking about being an electrician as well. I have experience, I have done two years of it so why don’t I continue it.
With the uncertainty about where he might be staying next, his progress could be in jeopardy.
“When I came here my life changed forever. I’ve found lockdown really hard. I’ve been in the hotel nearly a month now. I now have somewhere to wash and clean. I’m waiting to hear about my move-on options as there are a lot of things I want to do in the future.”
For many young people in COVID-19 accommodation the question as to what happens next remains unanswered. As such we are welcoming the government’s recent announcement of new move-on accommodation and want to see young people sleeping rough benefitting from this too. Such an investment into safe housing for young people is much needed to prevent youth homelessness and rough sleeping post-lockdown.
If you want to get in touch or share your thoughts just use the hashtag #NHYC