A return to ‘normal’ presents serious problems for homeless people in Hammersmith and Fulham

“The government have sacked everyone off, basically.”

These are the words of soup kitchen head chef and project coordinator Garry Rashid.

His project, Streetlytes, serves around 70 hot meals to homeless people in Shepherd’s Bush every Monday evening.

He is witnessing first hand how a return to ‘normal’ is negatively impacting the most vulnerable people in his borough.

On Monday night, after working for eight hours to prepare and serve a three course meal to dozens of guests, Rashid explained how the homeless in his community have suffered post-lockdown.

He said: “Last year, there was a lot more in place. During Covid, there was so much available to rough sleepers. 

“The thing is, over summer of this year, all that funding dried up.”

By the end of April 2020, 90% of rough sleepers in England were sleeping in empty hotels and other buildings.

In Hammersmith and Fulham, Rashid’s observations are reflected in reports from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN). 

The latest figures from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network  show that between July and September 2021, 44 new rough sleepers were spotted by outreach teams in Hammersmith and Fulham. 

In the same period last year, only 29 new rough sleepers were reported – this is an increase of 51%. 

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