FEARS for rough sleepers in Stratford district have been eased after news that they will continue to be housed during the coronavirus crisis.
The government announced last week that its emergency scheme to keep England’s homeless off the streets amid the pandemic was to end.
Doug Armstrong, one of the founders of Street Arts, which works with homeless people, said: “There is a real danger with this. People will inevitably end up on the street and homeless problems will continue for the vulnerable, many of whom have mental health problems. They need support, financially and otherwise.”
He praised Stratford District Council and outreach team P3 for their “good work”, adding: “There are only two rough sleepers left on the street in the area. Coronavirus has really brought forward the idea of community, of people rallying round. It’s vital that agencies like us and the council continue to offer support.”
In a statement to the Herald, the council said those who needed it were still being helped.
The statement added: “Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, the council has extended its provision of emergency accommodation to non-vulnerable households.
“The council worked with its partners to ensure that all known rough sleepers were offered accommodation. Of the six known at the time, all took the offer of accommodation bar two.
“Also the council has provided additional support to those in B&B accommodation, including provision of meals, regular telephone contact and health-related support.”
Meanwhile, Street Arts has recorded a version of the John Lennon song Isolation, to be released tomorrow (Friday) to raise money to support homeless, socially isolated and vulnerable people.
Street Art & Friends are thrilled to share the video to 'Isolation'. Huge thanks to everyone involved.Please donate what you can here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/streetartsYou can stream/ download ‘Isolation’ from the platform of your choice here https://lnkfi.re/streetartsEvery penny raised goes to support homeless, vulnerable and socially isolated people.We are all facing isolation, but no one should be alone.
Posted by Street Arts Project on Thursday, 21 May 2020
Before the lockdown, Street Arts hosted weekly music workshops hosted by musicians Jack Blackman, Wes Finch and Nigel Clark, of Dodgy fame.
Jack, from Alcester, told the Herald: “As we couldn’t host our regular sessions in Stratford we decided to do a collaboration on Isolation. Once it got rolling it really took off, with everyone getting involved. It now features about 30 musicians, friends and Street Arts participants.”
Each participant filmed themselves performing the song and, in a nod to 1970s protest movements, held aloft a banner saying “Isolation”.
Jack and his brother Euan, also a musician, then edited it down to a song-length version.
“It was tricky to get everyone in fairly and we had to be quite ruthless,” said Jack.
The end result is thoughtful and joyous, showing the community spirit that Jack hopes will be the legacy of the coronavirus crisis.
He said: “As a species we’re good at adapting to these challenges, but when lockdown does ease it’s important that we don’t forget about that and continue to look out for one another.
“In the song Lennon says, ‘Everybody’s got to have a home’. It’s a simple message really.”
Street Arts hopes the track will raise money to help it continue its work. See below for the video. Make donation at Crowdfunder