Help for the homeless and most vulnerable during COVID-19

Press release – Sheffield City Council

It is only natural to worry about the homeless and very vulnerable people at this time. But it is important to know that help is available in the city to support those most in need during the pandemic.

Please be assured, people are being fed and offered safe and warm accommodation in our city and this emergency response will be in place as long as necessary.

No one should be homeless in Sheffield and we have a range of services with our partners to ensure this happens even during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

During this time, anyone begging is not doing so to fund accommodation or food.

Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety at Sheffield City Council Paul Wood, said:

“It is important to adhere to the guidelines on social distancing at all times.

“This can prove difficult if you are concerned about a person on the streets who is homeless or begging. However, there is support available for every person in this situation with a safe place to stay and the provision of hot meals available, so there is no reason to provide money to cover either of these things.

“If a person tells you he/she has no place to go please call the dedicated helpline number and tell our agencies.  We are here to help all people in need at this time.”

To date we have placed 50 rough sleepers into accommodation since the COVID-19 outbreak began. All have been given mobile phones to stay connected while social distancing.

We have 800 supported accommodation beds in the city and we have secured additional beds for rough sleepers which provide shelter for vulnerable people with a range of issues.

All agencies and charities are working together even more closely than before. We are sharing our resources and pooling our volunteers who are working extremely hard to support others.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have set up and launched a range of delivery services which are staffed with volunteer cooks, helpers and drivers. Since the beginning of this month, we have provided hot meals for over 90 vulnerable people through accommodation providers.

What you can do to help:

  • Don’t give money or food.
  • If approached stay calm and simply say no.
  • If someone does say they are genuinely homeless and/or cannot self-isolate, call 0114 273 6306 or 0800 7311 689 after 5pm (If you call this number as a member of the public you need to have the homeless person with you so they can speak to the adviser over the phone)

Additional support available: 

Archer Project has been utilised as a kitchen to prepare hot and cold meals to identified individuals in supported accommodation. They are also allowing one to one access to facilities by appointment/referral only.

Bens Centre continue to support their current clients with telephone welfare checks and is acting as a donation point for all the group/charities involved in the Covid-19 response.  This includes items such as toiletries, games, books for example, so we can then look at sending packages together with the food.

St Wilfreds Centre is staffed between 1-3pm Monday to Friday for emergency ‘take away’ food, clothes and advice/signposting to appropriate services to those in crisis. There is no admittance to the centre. Telephone referrals for emergency food parcels (2 days-worth of food) can be made on 2555 720 per person. Messages are being picked up remotely and regularly from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Support from Sheffield Treatment and Recovery Teams (START) during Covid-19

START remains open for treatment and support with alcohol or non-opiate substances. If you or someone you know needs help call 0114 3050500 in the first instance.
At the current time most contact is provided over the telephone, but on occasion you may be required to attend in person and will be advised of this as required.
If you or someone you know needs help but doesn’t have access to a phone please self-present at Fitzwilliam Centre for Opiates, or Sidney Street regarding Alcohol or Non-opiate substances.
For professionals wanting to make a referral, please call 0114 3050500 or email sct-ctr.fitzwilliamcentrereferrals@nhs.net along with the name and DOB, address and phone number of the person you wish to connect with this service.

Support available through Help Us Help 

For additional information on multiagency activities supporting the homeless and street beggars at this time, please take a look at the website Help Us Help.

You can also find more details on the kind of help being provided by these teams as well as the kind of support the general public can offer at this time whilst respecting government guidelines on social distancing where volunteering and donation deliveries are possible.

If you or someone you know needs emergency food or medicine or general support during the pandemic, please call the dedicated Community Support Services helpline on 0114 273 4567.

To view the original press release, click here