The Covid-19 Pandemic has reached every household in England. It has affected each citizen majorly. On the 23rd of March Prime minister, Boris Johnson told each citizen to stay at home. But what about those that don’t have one? What is it like, rough sleeping during COVID-19?
The Covid-19 Pandemic outbreak has reached England at the beginning of March. Boris Johnson the British prime minister told the citizens to stay at home. But the rough sleepers of England were faced with fear.
At the end of March the government provided 3.2 million pounds to the councils to take the rough sleepers off the streets and provided them with accommodation.
Hotels that were closed, got rented out by the councils to shelter the rough sleepers during this pandemic.
3.2 billion pounds followed afterward to support the rough sleepers through this time.
Although homeless people are part of the risk group. This shows a study by Groundswell and the Trust for London. Rough sleepers face a high risk of chest infections and asthma and order breathing diseases.
But there are still people living on the empty streets of London.
Catherine Simonds the Principal Media Officer at Southwark Council stated:
“Today we have 163 people sleeping in our accommodation who previously slept rough. The people at the Tube Station are all living in accommodation provided by the council (as evidenced by the police) and are in fact begging to feed drug/alcohol addiction.”
So I went out and decided to speak to those people that still call the streets of London their home and to find out what it is like to be rough sleeping during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Credit: Isabella Ehrlicher
This is Gaby. Gaby is 32. Nowadays she spends most of her time in Waterloo on the back entrance. Her tent is located there and she says it is very quiet throughout day and night. Gaby has been homeless for a long time over 5 years she said. She didn’t want to tell me the reason why she is homeless but she said she is fine with this now.
“The Pandemic has hit me hard” she said. “Begging brings no money in anymore since there are no people.”
Gaby said she missed the first appeal for the accommodations. She was in the hospital and now she said she is on the waiting list for a room. “I need it” she said, “I am so tired”.
She now spends most of her time reading. “All my friends were able to get a room, and I have no way to contact them because I don’t know where they are, I am very alone right now”, she added.
The numbers behind it
Credit: Isabella Ehrlicher
This is Mitch. The picture is located outside Tescos on Borough high street. Mitch has been homeless forever, he said. He is 48 and claimed he’s been homeless for over 15 years. He does not want to go to one of these shelters.
“I want my freedom, walk around and sleep wherever I want, I cant sleep in a bed.”
He enjoys the empty city but just like Gaby, he misses his friends.
“I walk every day, that’s pretty much all I’m doing every now and then I have break, just like now.”
He hopes that the tourist comes back soon enough and that he can have a beer with his mates.