The trustees of Wellingborough Homeless Forum have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to close the night shelter, with the last night being Tuesday night of 24th March 2020 with doors closing on Wednesday morning. We have taken this decision as, firstly the building is not set up for isolation and containment of the virus, despite increased cleaning and hygiene procedures. Secondly as a voluntary organization we cannot guarantee that those who volunteer, and guests, who are themselves in the vulnerable category, will not become ill from the virus.
Although the building has served the homeless community well over the last 5 months, is not suitable for 24/7 accommodation which is what is required for social isolation to be effective.
The trustees have been working with the Borough Council of Wellingborough through the Rough Sleeping Initiative, and several street sleepers have been housed during the last few months. Recently temporary accommodation has been found for four rough sleepers and we will continue to work with the council officers so that, in time, all our guests are given a room during this crisis.
The Homeless Forum volunteers are keen to continue supporting those who are homeless in the coming months and we are investigating ways in which we can work with other voluntary organizations to provide food, telephone calls and signposting.
Further advice will be shared shortly, explaining how the shelter will be cleared, the food used and possible ways in which we can still help those we have got to know over the last 5 months.