In a bid to protect rough sleepers this winter, Caridon Group has donated 100 winter warmer packs to local homeless charities with the help of Hand on Heart, a charity that supports rough sleepers and vulnerable groups throughout England, who assembled the rucksacks.
Each winter pack is filled with essential items such as hoodies, thermals (top and bottom), socks, underwear, hot water bottle, gloves, woolly hats, deodorants, shower gel, toothbrush and toothpaste, as well as face masks and hand sanitiser.
The cold dark months have set in, and packs have already been delivered by Caridon Foundation, the not-for-profit arm of Caridon Group, to homeless hostels and charities in West London including Crawley Open House, Crisis Croydon, Croydon Nightwatch and Brent Support Services.
The COVID-19 pandemic put vulnerable people at even greater risk of poverty and homelessness. In response, in March 2020, the Government gave local authorities 48 hours to find emergency accommodation for all rough sleepers in England as the country locked down due to rising cases of Coronavirus.
With a new variant currently driving a huge spike in cases, Caridon Group’s CEO, Mario Carrozzo, asks why the government aren’t stepping in to help again. He says: “As the lockdown began last year, there was widespread concern that rough sleepers couldn’t isolate. The government acted quickly launching its ‘Everyone In’ campaign bringing around 6,000 rough sleepers known to councils into emergency accommodation provided by hotels or B&Bs.
This accommodation was only available due to the provision of emergency budget and government restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which prevented those establishments from operating in their usual capacity. However, despite promises that the measures would not be a one-off emergency response, 21 months later and with cases rapidly rising once again owing to the latest Omnicom variant, there appears to be little support for those who are rough sleeping this winter.”
With funding fading, Caridon confirms that the old normal of high homelessness will return. It will therefore continue to work closely with Hand on Heart in 2022 to reach more charities and individuals in need.
For more information about the work Hand on Heart do, please visit: www.handonhearttrust.com.