Merton Faith in Action update

Dear friend of Faith in Action

We thought you would like to know about the help and support we are continuing to give to local homeless and vulnerably housed people while the COVID-19 lockdown continues, and our Drop-in remains closed to service users during this difficult time.

You may be aware that nearly all of our homeless service users – including those dozen or so who were in the Merton Winter Night Shelter – have accepted hotel accommodation in various parts of London while the lockdown continues.  The organisation of this operation was very effectively spearheaded by the Greater London Assembly and London Borough of Merton.

Meanwhile, Faith in Action staff have been:

  • continuing to go into the Drop in to pass on any post and documents we are holding for people;
  • working with local outreach teams to alert them to people who were sadly still sleeping rough;
  • working with those of our service users who have contacted us for advice and support;
  • helping those still struggling with health and substance problems.  For example, we arranged an emergency dental appointment for one service user and others we have helped with benefit claims, for whom we are particularly grateful for specialist support from our DWP colleague Caroline;
  • looking for employment opportunities, including for those agricultural workers who will be needed during the peak period from the end of May; and
  • liaising with homeless charity St Mungo’s, who have begun to work constructively with many of our service users now in accommodation. We are hopeful that the lockdown will provide an opportunity to help many people achieve real progress while they have the stability of a place to live.

Despite the temporary closure of the Drop-in, our costs have not appreciably fallen as the Trustees took the early decision to continue to pay our staff, and to pay rent to our hugely supportive landlord, the Salvation Army Wimbledon.  So, we continue to value your support and the generous donations we receive.

We intend to reopen the Drop-in as soon as it is safe to do so, in line with government guidance.

With very best wishes.

Grenville Williams, Chair of Trustees
David Reeves, Communications & Fundraising Lead
Andy Fairbairn, Manager FiA Homeless Drop-in
Faith in Action Merton Homelessness Project

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