The Arch Giving Food Drive

Posted on: 28 April 2020

The day began early, getting hot pre-cooked food organised in to eating containers and individual food hampers ready for distribution. We handed out bathroom towels to residents of the hostels around the city as a recent shortage was preventing those re-housed to bathe or shower regularly. Our basic food stocks ranged from hot pre-made tomato and pasta recipes to bags of frozen peas, jars of tomato sauce, fresh fruit and vegetables, chocolate biscuit snacks, crisps and bottles of fizzy drinks. 



We loaded up our mini vans and set out on our day’s mission, visiting many of the city’s hostels and locations re-purposed for housing rough sleepers. 



The entire outreach was helped and organised by the amazing work of the Midland Langar Seva Society, a Sikh based charity dedicated to provide hot food and drink to rough sleepers, street, schools, safe houses and those on the poverty line on a daily basis.






Heightened Transmission Rates 


Transmission rates of the virus amongst homeless communities are currently a subject of major concern. The initial results of a survey by the UCL Collaborative Centre for Inclusion Health showed that homeless communities in some of London’s hostels were 25 times higher than the general adult population, with overcrowding, communalised spaces like bathrooms and bedrooms and poor hygiene having major influence upon the transmission rate, and despite the Government's efforts up to 35,000 people are currently sleeping rough in the uk. 






Social distancing 


When social distancing measures were put forward last month, many people in homeless communities were no longer able to be housed in some of the city’s Hostels due to the transmission risk. This prompted Leicester’s City Council to reserve ten separate furnished properties to house rough sleepers exhibiting symptoms of the virus in order to self isolate.


Food parcels, fuel allowances and basic amenities are also being provided for affording occupants a heathy standard of living during the crisis. The Dawn Centre in Conduit Streettook decisive action to prevent residents having to gather together in communal areas for food by arranging city council caterers to prepare hot food in a local school kitchen and deliver it directly to the centre itself each day.


The centre was also able to free up 35 self contained rooms for emergencies by re-locating people identified by the police as rough sleepers to bed and breakfast venues and other locations around the city. 


The fight continues on a national scale to ring fence some of the most vulnerable communities but the forecast is bleak for the homeless if decisive action isn’t taken. Modelling by UCL suggests that if testing isn’t scaled up and infected residents aren’t removed from shared hostels to specialist facilities, there could be up to 12,000 hospital admissions and 900 deaths of homeless people in England over the next three to four months. 


If you’d like to volunteer to help with homeless communities in Leicester take a look at Action Homeless or Reach Volunteering. Additionally if you may also want to make a financial contribution check out the donation pages for Action Homeless, or Homeless Link


If you’re a business you can make a yearly contribution with Help the Homeless Leicester


Lastly please take a look at some of our local homeless charities and the daily work they do:


The Bridge  


South Leicester Food Bank 

MLSS - Midland Langar Seva Society


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