Wycombe Homeless Connection update 6 April 2020

Thank you for what you are doing to care for the vulnerable

Because of the support we receive from our community, for weeks we have known that every person who has needed a bed, has had one. And when we meet anyone else who has no choice but to sleep on the street, we are getting them a safe place as soon as we can.

We have been able to build a great partnership with our local authorities and other local frontline organisations. Together, we decided when it became clear how serious this pandemic would be to put people into accommodation and straighten out who would pay for what later and we believe this has saved lives. It is good to now have clarity from the government over where some money will be coming from to help pay for all of this.

But the need for our services has never been greater

We are continuing to run our homeless health project, our homelessness prevention hotline, our outreach support services and all our support services to make sure everyone has what they need wherever they are staying. More and more people are coming to us for help every day for many reasons.

This is T’s story:

It was a couple of weeks back, just as the severity of the coronavirus pandemic was becoming clear that we met T.

T was sleeping rough at Wycombe train station. We went to find him and listened to him about how he had become homeless. It became immediately clear he didn’t have any options for finding somewhere to stay safe.

In halting English, T told us he was from Poland, and desperately wanted to go home. But having no money to do so, and having lost his passport, he simply didn’t know what to do.

We got straight to work. We knew that the Polish Embassy in London were organising repatriation for people who wanted to go home but didn’t have the means to do so. We worked with them to get him a space on the next coach and organised a seven-day passport so he could travel.

Next, we sorted T out with some food and spare clothes for the journey and arranged a taxi to take him to the Embassy.

Unfortunately, on arrival at the embassy, the team there were concerned T wasn’t well, and could potentially have the virus so, wisely, couldn’t let him on the coach.

But what was he to do next? He didn’t have a place to stay and self-isolate.

Again, we worked with the Embassy to find and pay for a room in a hotel, local to the Embassy. We knew that if he did have the coronavirus he would need to stay isolated for a week so paid for at least that long a stay. The next hurdle was organising food. We asked the hotel if they could help and they did. The team at the hotel stepped up and agreed to support him with food while he isolated in a room.

Just a couple of days ago, T came out of isolation and returned to the embassy where they were able to then get him home.

So he’s now safe, back where there are people he knows, and speak his language, so getting help and staying well will be easier for him.

Our aim is always to get people off the streets as soon as possible and we know it makes a real difference when we can get someone back to their home, especially at such a time of crisis.

More and more people are turning to us for help every day, and with your support we can keep making a difference to people like T.

We have brought back our stories section on our website and will be putting stories like T’s on there about as often as possible. We’ll also keep sharing them with you in these updates and on our social media channels.

Please pray

  • For T and people like him who want to return home but are not able to do so.
  • For all those who either don’t have a home, aren’t sure they will keep their home, and those who are unsafe in their home.
  • For everyone struggling with isolation and loneliness.
  • For the safety and wellbeing of every single person who is helped by our services and our staff and trustees.
  • Give thanks for the generosity and support shown to the people we serve.

Financial gifts are more vital than ever

The number of people contacting Wycombe Homeless Connection for help is still growing. And many of our fundraising activities have been postponed or cancelled. A large portion of our funds comes from community fundraisers, events, and at this time we are not sure if our most important event of the year, the Big Sleepout, will be able to go ahead or not.

We need help to ensure our services are here for the long term as well as right now. You can give online, by cheque, via standing order or by bank transfer. All the details are on our website www.wyhocorg.uk/donate or please call 01494 447699 or email us on contact@wyhoc.org.uk if you would like any help. Every single gift makes a difference.

Keeping in touch

We will be keeping you all up to date on how everything is going. Do also keep an eye on our website and social media.

Website: www.wyhoc.org.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WycombeHomelessConnection/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/wycombehomeless

Instagram: www.instagram.com/wycombehomelessconnection/