The current situation has disrupted life for Londoners all over the city, but vulnerable people, including the homeless and those in women’s refuges, have been hit particularly hard because of the challenges of social distancing in hostels. To help tackle this, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has promised to provide £40m as part of his Homelessness Change programme to adapt facilities in London’s hostels.
A recent survey found that, in around half of places surveyed, residents shared bathrooms with others and 4 percent of bed spaces were in communal rooms.
With social distancing set to be in place for the foreseeable future, the funding aims to help the city’s hostels adapt for the long term. The plans outlined by the Mayor’s office say this could involve refurbishing communal areas and building en-suite bathrooms, to make social distancing easier.
Currently, more than 1,000 homeless people are being housed in hotels or other safe accommodation in London, as part of the Everyone In scheme, which is making use of empty hotels and hostels to give those in need a roof over their heads. There were reports recently of the scheme coming to an end, but the government has refuted those claims, stating that it will continue for now.
Khan said: ‘The coronavirus pandemic has changed so much about how we all live our lives. The most vulnerable Londoners need our support at this time more than ever.’