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Project LIGHT: COVID 19 and Homelessness

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Last week’s theme for the resource team was COVID 19 and the impact this has had on homeless people. The resource team has split into two smaller teams, both creating an educational resource surrounding the theme. These resources have been sent to local charities in Leicester. Team 1 created a pamphlet on legal provisions during Covid-19 with regards to homelessness.

Team 1

The team was led by Shayna with the help of Arran, Christina and Lauren and we created a pamphlet outlining the legal provisions during Covid 19 (including information about applications of homelessness and what would be considered a priority application), information for those threatened with eviction (outlining rights during Covid-19), what you can do to help, and some contact information for various charities (YMCA, the Bridge, One Roof, and Centre Project).

For this week’s project, our team worked together to create a versatile resource covering the impact of homelessness from a variety of perspectives. We highlighted resources that are available such as help lines and charities, and featured information about legal provisions during the pandemic. From extra housing to increased funding, we worked together as a team to spotlight the important work being done by myriad organisations to help homeless people during the pandemic.

We also called attention to some of the things we as everyday citizens can be doing to ease the plight of those living in unstable conditions during these already unstable times. From simple things like making a point to carry small change and snacks or offering to buy a rough sleeper a hot drink, we hope this resource helps bring awareness to all the different ways we can be helping homeless people through these tough times.

What we learnt

• As this was the first time our team had ever met/ worked together, this project gave us a foundation knowledge of each other’s writing styles as we chose to create a leaflet including what you can do to help homeless people during Covid-19, legal changes relevant to the homeless during Covid-19 and various charities providing assistance to the homeless. We also learnt how best to work as a team to make the best resource possible choosing to have each person conduct research into one area and one person collate the information at the end.

• Alongside this we learnt new ways in which we can help the homeless, for example a beauty bag was something I hadn’t even considered prior to researching. The changes in legislation surrounding the homeless were also surprising especially in respect of the liberalisation of eviction legislation.

• Overall, we learnt a lot about what we can be doing to help, how important it is to understand not only your own legal rights but the legal rights of those around you, and how to cohesively work as a team

What we enjoyed

• Throughout our research it was interesting to learn how many charities there are with aims to help the more vulnerable population within Leicester especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown period. It was great still being able to become more educated on the topic, find all the relevant materials and participate in the resource making even from as far away as Canada for some of us.

• As a team, we worked really well together, meeting to discuss project distribution and timelines which were promptly met by each team member. We were able to bring all the relevant information together in a cohesive manner and present an easy to read, visually appealing pamphlet.

Challenges we faced

While it was undoubtedly a great experience grouping resources and creating a pamphlet for the homeless in Leicester, it did not come without its difficulties. One difficulty we faced was that there were not many homeless charities that helped with Covid-19 specifically, which was the main purpose of our resource. There are many charities that have suffered as a consequence of coronavirus and couldn’t provide what they usually could. It also meant that those of us who were researching charities did a lot of overlapping research and researched a lot of the same charities.

To solve this issue, we added extra contact details to the charities we already found and made the pamphlet more concise due to the limited charities that dealt with anything coronavirus-related for the homeless. This allowed our resource to be as information filled as possible with the charities, we ended up finding.

Team 2

The team was led by Diego, with the help of Michael, Stephanie and Megan, and we created an informational pamphlet all about OneRoof Leicester including how they operate and how they’ve helped during the COVID pandemic

Who are OneRoof?

OneRoof Leicester is a charity that provides accommodation, support, and advice to people who are homeless, destitute refugees, asylum seekers, and the vulnerably housed in Leicester - their vision is to work with local communities to help restore the lives of those who’ve been affected by homelessness.

They aim to:

• Improve access to temporary and long-term accommodation.

• Improve access to services and advice available.

• Improve integration into the community for people with housing issues.

• Reduce the number of rough sleepers.

• Increase partnership working and sharing resources.

• Encourage the development and delivery of a wider range of accommodation and support services.

How have they helped during the COVID pandemic?

When they were needed most, OneRoof stepped up and provided an even bigger impact on the local community by doubling their accommodation to fit twice as many people during the pandemic and delivered over 1000 food parcels during the national lockdown. Counting all the clients they have accommodated, they provided over 3500 nights of accommodation.

OneRoof Homes

The OneRoof homes provide not only accommodation for individuals but also specialist support to help vulnerable individuals rebuild their lives.

• Houses are located within the community and they are occupied by 2-3 vulnerable adults.

• Each resident has their own bedroom and share communal spaces: kitchen, living rooms, bathroom.

• Rooms are fully furnished and properties are maintained at a high standard.

• Residents are offered help with applications for benefits, employment, training and eventually to move-on.

• Where a resident receives no income, ORL provides a room for free and a weekly subsistence payment.

OneRoof Night Shelters

Winter Night Shelter - (available December - February)

• The service rotates around 7 places of worship in the city of Leicester for 3 months.

• The multi-faith shelter offers emergency accommodation and food to homeless individuals.

The Night Shelter (available March - November)

• The NS is located in a city centre church in Leicester.

• Homeless individuals are offered a place to sleep for 9 months

• Support is offered in order to help rough sleepers rebuild their lives.

What we learnt

• We learnt how One Roof is supporting the homeless, destitute refugees, asylum seekers, and the vulnerably housed in Leicester.

• In addition, we gained a better understanding of One Roof’s aim of improving access to temporary and long-term accommodation, improving access to services and advice available, improving integration into the community for people with housing issues, and reducing the number of rough sleepers.

• As a group, we learnt not only how COVID-19 and the restrictions following it impact One Root shelters, but how they affect all shelters. In particular we discovered how One Roof faced and tackled such challenges.

• We learnt to work together as a group and to gather different ideas in order to create an engaging and appealing pamphlet for One Roof.

What we enjoyed

• Researching and learning about the work of One Roof Leicester was interesting and inspiring, especially seeing how they’ve worked during the COVID national lockdown to still support individuals - It showed us that you can still make a difference whatever the circumstances, as there will always be people in a more difficult situation than what you think you’re in

Challenges we faced

• Due to the COVID restrictions, the team had to communicate online rather than the standard face-to-face group meetings. Diego, the team leader, created a small Whatsapp group informing us of our roles and delegations, which helped us overcome this challenge. We all had a particular role to fulfill and once we completed these roles, the team leader pieced all of our work together. It would have been easier to meet up in person, researching and creating the resource together, but we made the most of the resources we had available in the current circumstances.

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