Volunteers Are Handing Out Packs Of Coronavirus Supplies To UK’s Homeless Community
Many countries are facing uncertain times at the moment, as the global spread of Covid-19 continues to lock down regions and rid entire supermarkets of loo roll.
But while it's natural to think about how the outbreak affects us as individuals, it's easy to forget that there are others out there who may need a little more help.
Homeless communities, for instance, already face countless challenges on the streets - especially during the colder, winter months - but as many of us are encouraged to self-isolate or work from home, what exactly does that mean for those without that option?
Jorawar Singh Rathour, co-founder of the London Homeless Welfare Team (LHWT), was surprised that little has been done to help homeless people at a time when others are rallying together.
While a longer term solution may be some time off yet, he and a small team have started tackling the issue by distributing coronavirus supplies to homeless people in north London, with hopes to roll the scheme out elsewhere in the UK.
Along with food and sanitary products, the volunteers are now handing out soaps, tissue packs and water bottles, along with information packs for the homeless to help stop the spread of coronavirus, along with details on how they can protect themselves.
As a self-funding project, the group has since set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the work that needs to be done, with each pack costing approximately £1.50 each.
So far, it has raised £2,620 of the £5,000 target, with many donors praising the campaign for helping some of the 'most vulnerable, forgotten people' in society.
Writing on the page, Jorawar said: "We recently initiated a project; distributing health packs for the homeless to help stop the spreading of Coronavirus. In these health packs contained information about how to protect yourself and included NHS advice on washing hands with symptoms of the virus. Also included: soaps, tissue packs and water bottles.
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"I believe that we are the first organisation to have done this exclusively for the homeless. Many people abroad travel through Finsbury Park (station and local area), which is why our team and I targeted this specific location.
"We believe it's extremely important to get rough sleepers off the streets as they are more susceptible to infections and viruses. They are not able to self-isolate should they become infected.
"We believe the council should take steps as we have done to initiate a programme to protect the homelessness community immediately.
"Unfortunately, many homeless are being moved on by police enforcing a time ban on returning and this can potentially become a cause of spreading the virus."
In an update on Facebook, the LHWT said it now plans to start distributing across the UK, and urged anyone helping homeless or vulnerable communities to get in touch.
"We wanted to say a MASSIVE HEART FELT THANK YOU to all that have supported us and are donating to help with our hand wash initiative helping to prevent the spread of Coronavirus amongst the homeless community," the post said.
"We are now in a position to start distributing across the UK. We will be covering the cost of shipping ourselves. This will ensure that all donations received will be used for making the packs and food & drink.
"If you are helping the homeless / vulnerable and would like to receive these packs (max 10-15 per box as we have 32 boroughs across London alone). Please send us a direct message and we will do our very best to send them out to you as quickly as possible."
For more information and to donate to LHWT, check out the GoFundMe page here.
It's okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD's aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we're facing. For more information from the World Health Organisation on Coronavirus, click here.
Featured Image Credit: GoFundMe/LHWT
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