Stevenage and Hitchin homeless shelter calls for public’s support amid coronavirus crisis

Stevenage Haven, in Ditchmore Lane has released a public statement amid the coronavirus outbreak. Pi

Stevenage Haven, in Ditchmore Lane has released a public statement amid the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

A homeless shelter operating in Stevenage and Hitchin has released a public statement to reassure both residents and the public that they are doing all they can for the homeless during the coronavirus outbreak.

Stevenage Haven, which runs the Ditchmore Lane shelter and provides the staff and services for Helping Herts Homeless in Hitchin, has told both the public and their temporary residents that they are doing everything in their power to control the risk and spread of the virus.

Although they admitted the outbreak was causing “repercussions at every level of our organisation,” the Haven will continue following government and health professional’s advice, encourage good hygiene practices and provide systematic checks on residents and staff for their health and safety.

In their statement, the charity did encourage donations of spare canned or packaged goods, monetary contributions and hand sanitiser – which they say they are running “particularly” low on.

A Stevenage Haven spokeswoman added: “The COVID-19 outbreak has affected us in many ways and we are feeling the repercussions at every level of our organisation.

“From day-to-day volunteers self-isolating, food deliveries being delayed indefinitely, to a decline in vital food and monetary donations, the outbreak has undoubtedly made things a little trickier than normal.

“The government’s promise of financial support to local authorities to help the containment of the virus within the homeless and rough sleeping communities will undoubtedly help, but more support is certainly needed for such a large scale issue, particularly with many Charities like the Haven where support staff may have to self isolate due to their own health implications.

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“We have always encouraged donations of canned and dried foods, however we now are forced to extend our requests to sealed donations of fresh vegetables and frozen meats, hand soap, and hand sanitiser, as the health and nutrition of our residents is key to the successful running of our projects.

“I hope everyone can remember that our sites in Stevenage and Hitchin are the full time homes of over 57 people who are all as concerned as everyone else about the future, and without the continued generosity we normally experience, we won’t be able to run as smoothly as we always have.”

For more information on how you could help the Haven, call 01438 354 884.

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