The Booth Centre, a day service that supports people that are homeless in Manchester remains open during the outbreak of COVID-19 to ensure that people that are homeless can get into accommodation. As other services in the city are having to close, the Booth Centre has worked tirelessly to adapt and remain open, by moving everything to operate from their garden.
The outdoor service is open 9am-12noon offering hot drinks and a meal to take away and a free texting service to offer daily support remotely and a contact for people in emergencies. The Centre is working with Manchester City Council and other partners to accommodate all people that are currently sleeping rough and up to now, the Booth Centre has supported 78 people to access hotel accommodation in the city.
The Booth Centre team have access to the most up to date and accurate information on COVID-19 and are sharing that with the community to ensure that everyone has the right guidance and are supported to act on it.
The Centre are also launching a new virtual arts project for people to participate in remotely. This is so people can remain occupied and retain a sense of purpose; something that is vital for mental health and wellbeing, social connection and self-esteem.
The spread of COVID-19 presents a unique set of challenges for people who come to the Booth Centre. Social distancing and self-isolation are difficult for people who live in shared accommodation, are rough sleeping or are reliant on services for food and wellbeing. But these people are also some of those most at risk from the virus, due to underlying health conditions and compromised immune systems.
Amanda Croome CEO of the Booth Centre says: “Staff, volunteers and people we support have come together to create this new way of working at the Booth Centre. Whilst adopting social distancing protocol as outlined by government, we’re still able to provide our vital support – something that is so needed in our city right now. With around 40% of people who visit the Booth Centre having no income at all, and 68% that will have slept rough in the last year, it is so important we continue to offer our core services during this incredibly difficult time. We are also working closely with the Council and other partners to ensure that people who are homeless will be able to secure, single room accommodation that allows them to adhere to the government guidance stipulated.”
Because of the need for individuals and businesses to socially distance and isolate, the Booth Centre has already seen a significant decrease in donations and predicted income. With two large fundraising events in danger of being postponed and the donations of food and toiletries at an all-time low, the Booth Centre are urging people to donate money if they can via the Booth Centre website, or consider dropping off food donations at the Centre (Monday-Friday 1pm-3.30pm only). The list of much needed items can be found on the website.
The Booth Centre will remain an open door, non-referral service and will continue to welcome everyone who is, has been or is at risk of homelessness. But they can't do that alone, they need your support.