SMART CJS Critical Homeless Services Update
SMART CJS’s normal service and support to rough sleepers and the homeless in Bedford and Milton Keynes has been severely disrupted due to the current pandemic. Restrictions and safety directives from the Government advise everyone to STAY AT HOME. Hostels and centres have had to close to ensure that social distancing rules are observed.
We continue to provide care and support to those who need it most
The equivalent HOMES for our rough sleepers and homeless – namely the SMART Prebend Centre and the Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub – are now temporarily closed. We have transferred to a hotel requisitioned by Bedford Borough Council. SMART has been supporting up to 60 rough sleepers, homeless and other vulnerable people in this temporary accommodation, from which our staff & volunteers are providing support 24/7.
We need your help to keep going
We have already received a tremendous response from our existing and new supporters, who are donating time, food and other vital supplies; I can’t thank you enough for your kindness. We are now in desperate need of additional funds to provide services from this alternative base and to equip our frontline key workers with personal protective equipment. With your help, we can keep our teams safe and operational so that they can deliver essential aid during this difficult time. We also need money to ensure that, when this crisis is over, there IS a SMART Prebend Centre still in existence (with retained staff) that the homeless can go back to for support and guidance.
Our homeless and socially isolated are at serious risk
The average age at death of homeless people was 44 years for men, 42 years for women. People who are homeless and rough sleeping also have a higher rate of underlying health conditions e.g. chest ailments, diabetes and immune deficiency. This places them at higher risk of death or complications if they were to contract COVID-19.
SMART CJS’s ongoing presence throughout this extremely challenging time provides reassurance and stability, as well as practical support for the vulnerable. Our staff have a deep understanding of the needs of the homeless population. Without suitable accommodation, food and other essentials like toiletries and bedding, our homeless will not be able to effectively self-isolate, increasing the risk to themselves and others.
Our service must operate in the most effective method possible. We urgently need money rather than other types of donation at this time.