Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update from The Passage Chief Executive, Mick Clarke: 20 March

With the situation changing daily, we are continuing to do all that we can to ensure that our vital services for those who are street homeless remain open.

We are told that London is two weeks ahead of the rest of the UK in terms of the Coronavirus crisis and with plans to significantly reduce public transport and greater restrictions likely to be in place very soon, the safety and welfare of our clients is paramount. The Passage is looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our society, many of whom already have poor health, in an area where Covid-19 is most prevalent.

This client group is seriously at risk, so we are adapting our services to ensure that we can protect everyone that needs help.

We are operating a triage system in our Resource Centre, to assess any client that might be at risk of infection.

Our three accommodation projects are also open and we’re taking every precaution to minimise the risk of infection for our residents and staff.

On Wednesday evening, I and other leaders within the homelessness sector met with Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. We discussed the measures that are urgently needed to ensure that everyone on the street has access to a safe place where they can self-isolate. We have asked for more testing to be made available and the guaranteed supply of protective equipment for frontline staff.

An absolute priority is to ensure that all frontline Passage staff have key worker status, so they can travel to work if transport systems shut down or are restricted, and are able to keep our vital services running.

I am delighted that as of this morning, this status has been agreed for all charity staff and volunteers delivering key frontline services.

I met with sector leaders and central government again yesterday to plan a coordinated approach for the homeless community, particularly in London.

I’m extremely proud of my amazing staff and volunteers who are at the frontline and working tirelessly to ensure we are providing a safe environment; we are truly in extraordinary times and we are so proud to have extraordinary staff to rise to this challenge.

Thank you so much to everyone who has contacted us to offer their support during this very difficult time. We urgently need to keep our services open to support people who may be affected by Coronavirus, so please help us if you can.

Thank you.