The Harrogate Homeless Project are following national guidelines and keeping the Bower Road Hostel and Spring Board (day services) open.
Springboard remains open Mon-Fri, for rough sleepers and those in our emergency beds (No Second Night Out – NSNO), however admittance to the building is dependent on need.
All visits must be for a specific purpose (food/shower/support need/meeting) and clients will be asked about the purpose of their visit on arrival. Once that need has been met, the client will need to leave.
Financial support/ donations are particularly important as staffing costs have increased with overtime working, some staff self-isolating and many significant fundraising events cancelled with a funding downturn this year.
Liz Hancock, chief executive of Harrogate Homeless Project, paid particular credit to her staff that are working above and beyond to keep their important services operational.
Due to increased staffing costs, they would really need financial support. Many significant fundraising events have been cancelled so they anticipate a funding downturn this year.
John Harris, Chair of the Harrogate Homeless Project Board of Trustees said:
We have done an internal exercise on how we would be placed if our donations are down over the calendar year by 25% or even 50%
We appreciate that businesses and individuals are being hit really hard and the loss of business and wages will be devastating, so any financial support for HHP will be doubly appreciated.
The staff are ‘key workers’ and they are doing a wonderful job supporting individuals in dire straights. There are great responses of support – deliveries of food and milk to keep the day centre and hostel going.
Operationally things have changed to adapt to Government Guidelines.
Liz Hancock, chief executive of Harrogate Homeless Project, said:
We have implemented a one-in, one-out system for clients and will keep a 2 metre distance. We have also now switched to take-out drinks/food only with staff to preparing the drinks.
Those who are housed have been advised not to visit Springboard – unless there is a specific support reason, which staff will ascertain at the doorstep and assistance will be offered if considered essential and if possible.
We will offer to take their phone number and keep in touch in case outreach support is needed.
We are tracking all vulnerable housed clients to make sure there needs are being met, and delivering food and medication where needed.
Laundry and showers will continue for rough sleepers only.
Groups and activities have been suspended e.g. GP, Pilates, Foot Clinic, Hairdressing, Street Paws.
Liz Hancock said:
The aim is to try and keep some level of service at Spring Board as long as possible, but worst case is that we will have to shut down.
Harrogate Borough Council has bought us 20 mobile phones so that we can issue them to people to keep in touch with other agencies.
We are exploring phone charging options so that people can keep in touch, given that most agencies are operating a predominately phone service only.
At the hostel on Bower Street, full services continues, albeit it on reduced staffing. Full measures are in place for enhanced cleaning and all residents are being kept informed of latest developments to keep them safe.
We have contingency plans for if a resident becomes symptomatic and are working with HBC on alternative self-contained accommodation should anyone need to self-isolate.
If anyone is facing homelessness we are still carrying out assessments and providing emergency accommodation through No Second Night Out (NSNO).
We have had to suspend donations other than sealed food items and cannot at present accept home-made food donations due to risk control.
The HHP have also needed to make changes to their approach to donations.
Liz Hancock said:
We have unfortunately had to come to the decision that for the foreseeable future we will have to restrict the donations we can accept, so as not to put our vulnerable service users at any extra risk, and further prevent the spread of the virus.
They are very much in need of:
- sealed food (both fresh and nonperishable).
- long-life milk
- sealed toilet roll
- cleaning products
- hand sanitiser
- hand wash
However at the current time they are unable to accept other donations which include but are not limited to:
- furniture donations
- clothing donations
- opened/uncovered food
Liz Hancock said:
Due to reduced staffing levels we are also currently unable to collect any donations and will only be able to accept donations at the doorstep at Bower Street. We have an intercom and are happy for you to press the bell and step away if you wish to leave donations from our “accepted” list on our doorstep instead.
Thanks so much for all of your support, hope everyone is staying safe in this difficult time.