11 May 2020

The Ace of Clubs in Clapham said it was now serving more than 180 meals a day to the most vulnerable in the capital, up from an average of 80.

Job losses caused by coronavirus have created "a new flow" of people on to the streets, charities have warned.

The government said it had provided an extra £6.5bn to support people on low wages affected by coronavirus.

"This doesn't match what we are hearing from the people who turn to us for support," said Lucy Abraham, chief operating office at homeless charity Glass Door.

She said many of those using homeless services for the first time had experienced barriers to accessing Universal Credit or been denied access to public funds due to their immigration status.

Refettorio Felix said it had reported 23% more people turning up to its daily free meals at St Cuthbert's Centre in Kensington.

The Ace of Clubs said people from "Hackeny, Enfield and even from Ealing come down all the way down south just to get a meal".

"We have seen a flow of people on to the streets," Ms Abraham said.

"People who previously worked in precarious jobs and who haven't been able to access the furlough scheme.

"When they lose their jobs, they are not eligible for universal credit, housing or government support. Often such people literally have nowhere to turn except charities."

A specialist taskforce headed by Dame Louise Casey has been set up to lead the next phase of the government's support for rough sleepers during the pandemic.

"The taskforce will work hand-in-hand with councils across the country on plans to help rough sleepers move into long-term, safe accommodation once the immediate crisis is over," a government spokesman said.

Source: BBC