Homeless charity, Crisis helps thousands of people in need all over the UK every year. At Christmas time especially, Crisis opens centres all over the UK to help many people find shelter, food and to help rebuild their lives. They offer support to those who really need it and give company to those with no-one at Christmas.

However, with the recent pandemic and social distancing rules, things have had to run a little differently this year. Covid-19 has meant that the centres that are usually open, are not reliable to ensure a safe environment for everyone. But that wasn’t going to stop the brilliant charity helping people this Christmas, arguably the most important one yet with a lot more sufferers of mental health and a lot more people feeling alone.

This Christmas Crisis is using hotels as their centres instead of communal sleeping arrangements, meaning people have a room each and can isolate where necessary. Therefore, social distancing can take place. Advice and volunteering services have been moved online wherever possible, reducing the risk of any transmission of the virus.

It can be argued that Crisis is better this year, more luxury sleeping arrangements where everyone can have their own space. One of the guests from a south east centre, expressed how he feels safer this year,  “Being in my own room with a lock is great as no-one is going to steal my stuff or attack me when I’m sleeping.”

Many disagree though, they feel it’s hard this year because they feel like they are being confined. A guest from a south east centre said that “Being forced to stay in my room to avoid covid, I understand, but it’s a bit like a posh prison”, another from the same centre expressed that “having to stay in my room all the time is bad because I miss the chats with the lovely volunteers, I like to play cards or chess but that is not allowed this year.”

It is not only different for the guests, it is different for the volunteers too. John, a long-term Crisis volunteer, said that “the hotel model means the guests have more privacy and space, but I miss not being able to have a conversation with our guests, some of whom I see every year.” He also explained that “because of covid we can’t offer all the services and entertainment that we usually do. Karaoke and bingo are out and a magic show over zoom isn’t the same.”

Not only does Crisis run centres over Christmas, they also provide education and support to the homeless population all year round.  

To give back and help, you can donate to crisis, or you could volunteer next Christmas or help by campaigning. Do your part to help end homelessness for good.