As Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) continues to spread, SPEAR are addressing daily how best to serve people experiencing homelessness. We have set up an emergency response task force to provide the best environment for clients and staff to carry out their day-to-day activities, and swiftly react to the latest government measures:
- Our Twickenham Hub remains open to people experiencing homelessness and our SPEAR clients for appointments only.
- Our Rough Sleeper Outreach service (working across all five boroughs) is continuing to answer queries on the phone and email around rough sleeping.
- Our Rough Sleeper Outreach team is providing a limited service with resources being diverted to our residential units, to ensure that these essential services remain fully operational.
- Briar Road Head Office is closed to all clients, volunteers and contractors. However, our staff team are contactable in the usual ways via email and phone.
- We have temporarily stopped some volunteer led activities such as the clothing drop-in and health days in order to focus our resources in other areas during this health crisis. We have individually contacted volunteers to discuss their volunteer roles at SPEAR.
- We are continuing to take some donations at SPEAR in order to focus resources on the highest needs. We are currently taking food supplies, sanitizing products (particularly hand-gel, sanitizer sprays, toilet-paper & other items that are in short supply). We are not taking clothes or household goods. Supplies we already have of these will be distributed when needed.
In addition, we have carried out prompt action to support our staff and clients, such as:
- Address any immediate medical issues, physical and mental, arising from the current situation
- Assess and identify those who are more vulnerable and require special assistance
- Provide detailed information on how to prevent the virus spreading and what to do if unwell
- Purchase sanitising products in bulk and distribute to all our supported accommodation and offices
- Update risk assessments on all our properties
- Update corporate and service specific business continuity plans
- Expand the necessary infrastructure to allow as many staff as practical to work remotely
- Provide regular progress updates
All of the above points are already set in motion. As circumstances constantly change, SPEAR will strive to continue providing services for people experiencing homelessness, react to updates from Public Health England and be ready for worst-case scenarios.