The Challenges of Being Homeless During a Pandemic

published on July 2, 2020

I think most homeless people noticed the

change quite soon on the streets of

London I mean we we found that people

weren't bumping into us looking at their

mobile phones anymore



social distancing thing is not hard for

homeless people to adhere to because we

are distance from society anyway Society

distance itself from us

we've probably you know the least likely

group to have it the only thing that's

difficult for us now is obviously we

have to find food and foods in fewer and

fewer places my aims on the beginning of

this year was that this time next year I

would have bought myself a secondhand

cabin cruiser to live on the canal I

mean I don't know whether that's even

possible anymore because a lot of the

things that I worked with to earn money

may not be happening this year I don't

know yet the worst thing you could have

when you're homeless is to be ill of any


definitely something like a tummy upset

so most homeless people like myself are

very very aware of cleanliness as to

getting advice about the latest

information well that is a problem

because we don't have access to easy

charging but if I run low on batteries

on my phone or my computer I have no

access to any information whatsoever or

the latest news it's even more

word-of-mouth than it ever was and there

again this here's a major problem for

people to try and solve as far as my

understanding goes the handouts and the

homeless services are actually exempt

from the lockdown because it's obviously

critical that you get food and water

Walter's becoming a particular problem

most places have decided instead of

having any problems at all or any

question marks about whether they're

doing the right thing or not they've

decided that they are just going to

close there are as I say three or four

places where they've been brilliant so

though they've changed how they operate

they haven't stopped feeding us and

looking taking care of us and doing as

much as they can and even extending

their hours and days which has been

without that you wouldn't be watching me

talk to you here there's been a big

thing in the press that we've all been

given Hotel votes

well if we have been given hotel rooms

and I know a few people that have

they're not being fed what the deal is

is that you have a hotel room but you

can't self isolate because you have to

leave the hotel room to look for food

and myself I gave my details following

the place of of orders advice last week

to the local outreach team they promised

to get back to me they said they didn't

have a hotel available so yes there is

virtually no support other than the four

places now that I'm relying upon for

food and showers there's one place that

will do a little item of washing for you

so washing is a father

6:40 am I've been up for about 20


reason why most homeless people don't do

what I've just done and speak to the

outreach teams and end up in a place

like this is that by the time I was got

here it's about half 11:00 I've only had

about four or five hours sleep whereas

where I would sleep on street would give

me a nice eight hours in the government

supposedly given means they improve

people in hotel rooms but this is not a

hotel I have a one-night ticket which

I'm leaving today which actually please

it is really really a lovely room and

the big plus that I am quite knocked out

about is it is run extremely well as

much as I'm happy with everybody this

managed to get me here I have been quite

proactive definitely in the last few

weeks to actually get a hotel room

because if this is his crisis if you're

taking five weeks to sort me out and

I've been very proactive then I don't

think that's great I come back to this

other thing that's been driving me mad

is nobody seems to be thinking about

feeding us you need to be well fed for

your body to function for your body to

have any defenses I think feeding us has

been like fifth on the list if it wasn't

for the Salvation Army at chalk farm the

Camden Council letting them open 10:00

to 2:00 and if it wasn't for some

Patrick Soho Square and the American

church that really did plow on feeding

us I wouldn't have made the three weeks

to have got hose you know start pushing

myself hard to get a hotel room and I

wouldn't have made the five weeks to be

here so on you know I think there's a

lot of things that need to be organized

you know pandemics of any kind is not

good from the damage it not only does

obviously to you biologically and the

people that suffer and die but also what

it does to the financial systems and

everything else around the world so how

we're going to come out of this and what

will be life the other side of it is a

big question mark in the moment


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