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Covid-19: Information, guidance and resources to support you through the pandemic

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Support for homelessness and substance misuse

Measures have been put in place across the UK to help protect homeless people from the effects caused by Covid-19. We’ve listed some of the resources available to help you find the support and resources you may need. It’s important that we make sure that stigma towards groups who are already subject to high levels of discrimination, does not increase.

Guidance for service providers

The Welsh Government have released guidance for substance misuse and homelessness services in Wales.

This guidance is to assist substance misuse and homelessness services, and those working with vulnerable people, especially those with drug and/or alcohol use disorders, mental health conditions, and complex needs.

This has been developed in line with current public health guidance, with information for communicating with services users, members of staff, volunteers, and family or carers.

The guidance covers specific issues that apply to the sector in responding to Covid-19, while continuing to support some of the most vulnerable people in Wales.

There is also published guidance from Public Health England specifically on rough sleepers and homeless services.

This publication covers guidance for:

  • day services for both substance misuse services and people who are homeless
  • community treatment services for substance misuse
  • people with other co-occurring conditions
  • community services for people who are homeless
  • hostels and temporary accommodation, including night shelters and support houses
  • ‘housing first’ projects
  • substance misuse outreach services, including mobile services
  • homelessness outreach services, including mobile units and soup runs
  • residential rehabilitation services
  • community drug and alcohol services.

The guidance will also help service providers, commissioners and employers in providing advice to their staff on:

  • Covid-19 in general
  • how to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including Covid-19
  • what to do if someone with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 attends a substance misuse or homelessness service setting
  • what advice to give to individuals, both service users and staff.

Support available in Wales

Local councils in Wales have received emergency funding for accommodation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

You can apply for this accommodation by contacting the local council directly. You can use the local council finder facility to find out which council you need to apply to.

These local charities also provide practical and emotional support in Wales:

1. Cymorth Cymru is the representative body for providers of homelessness, housing and support services in Wales. They are publishing regular updates for the housing, homelessness and support sector. For urgent enquiries, you can contact Cymorth Cymru on (07907) 614905

2. Shelter Cymru are providing specialist advice to those who are homeless or need housing support during the coronavirus pandemic. You can contact them via their helpline on (08000) 495 495 and speak to an expert housing adviser. Their helpline is open 9.30am – 4pm Monday to Friday

3. Llamau is a homelessness charity in Wales. Llamau work with isolated vulnerable young people and women and are continuing their services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Their services include 24 hour staffed young people’s accommodation, domestic abuse refuges and support services for young people and women who are at risk of homelessness or domestic abuse. You can contact Llamau on (029) 2023 9585

4. Crisis Skylight South Wales works with people who are homeless and vulnerably housed. They are continuing to provide support remotely through phones or on-line where possible. You can contact Crisis on (01792) 674900

5. Huggard are based in Cardiff as a centre for people who are homeless and vulnerable, and they will continue to stay open 24/7 to care for those who need their ongoing support. You can contact Huggard on (029) 2064 2000

6. The Wallich are actively working alongside Welsh Government and with local authorities to develop an effective, tailored, local response in each area to respond to the needs of the rough sleeping community. You can contact The Wallich on (029) 20668464.

National support and advice

These national charities are also providing support across the UK:

1. StreetLink takes referrals directly from the public. If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can use their website to send an alert to StreetLink. The details you provide are sent to the local authority or outreach service for the area in which you have seen the person, to help them find the individual and connect them to support. You can contact StreetLink on (0300) 500 0914

2. The Mix offer support for the under 25’s who are coping with housing problems or substance misuse They can provide information and support, as well as an online one-to-one or group chat facility to provide emotional support. You can contact The Mix on (0808) 808 4994.

Resources for managers, commissioners and frontline workers

We have provided some links below that may be useful for service providers working with people who are struggling with homelessness and/or substance misuse:

1. Homeless link have published a webinar designed for managers, commissioners and frontline workers in the homelessness sector. A Homelessness and Covid-19 frequently asked questions document has also been published to support service providers during the pandemic

2. Groundswell have developed resources to help practitioners who are supporting people experiencing homelessness during the current coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. These resources include guidance for people who are rough sleeping and living in temporary accommodation, along with tools for planning a local response

3. Housing Justice has produced expert Health and Safety advice for winter night shelter projects to mitigate against the virus spreading

4. You can also access government guidance for hostel or day centre providers of services for people experiencing rough sleeping.