Catching Lives, the Canterbury based independent charity aimed at ending the harm caused by rough sleeping, is responding to an announcement issued by Canterbury City Council (CCC) last week regarding extra funding that has been issued to house rough sleepers, and in particular to the number of individuals currently street homeless in the area.
The announcement, issued on 24 June 2020, stated the number of individuals on the street as 13. However, Catching Lives works directly with rough sleepers through regular outreach activity and support offered from its daycentre, and considers the actual figure to be close to 40- much higher than the one reported by the Council.
Terry Gore, General Manager of Catching Lives stated “The council’s reporting of only 13 people is disappointing. We weren’t contacted ahead of the announcement, so we were unable to comment before its release. Therefore, we feel we have to take the unusual step of making a separate comment on the figures presented”.
• Since the 27th March, 163 individual people have approached us for assistance or otherwise used our services.
• We have registered 26 new clients during June and only 5 of them have been offered any kind of emergency accommodation.
• We have noted an increase in the number of women seeking assistance due to domestic abuse.
Catching Lives have been working with the council, Porchlight and all key services to help deal with the unique situation resulting from the crisis and the government’s lockdown on 23 March.
Mr Gore went on to add, “There’s no doubt the Covid 19 crisis forced all of us in to taking immediate action to help protect the homeless and broader community. It was a bold move to house people in the city’s Travelodge – and it has done a great deal of good. We have produced over 12,000 meals during the lockdown period, as well as providing a range of necessary services in support of those in need.
But we also have to consider the future and what it is likely to bring. Once the Furlough scheme finishes we will see more redundancies and people out of work. Once the embargo on evictions finishes we will see more people losing their accommodation. If you add this to the number of new clients we are already seeing, it paints a picture of an increase in homelessness and rough sleeping.”