1. Christmas Eve meal to return as take-away

    About 250 hot meals are set to be handed out from Birmingham's New Street station on Christmas Eve.

    Christmas Eve meal
    Christmas Eve meal

    Network Rail and the Midland Langar Seva Society charity usually provide a three-course sit-down meal for the city's homeless, but have had to make alternative Covid-safe arrangements.

    The food and gifts will be given out on the Eastern plaza between 17:00 and 19:00 on Thursday 24 December.

    A queuing system will be set up to ensure people keep at a safe distance from one another to help stop the spread of coronavirus, said the rail company.

  2. Video content

    Video caption: Southampton girl, 8, inspired clothing donations to the homeless

    Eight-year-old Elle who helps rough sleepers has inspired people to donate hundreds of bags of clothing.

  3. The Homeless Hotel

    Video content

    Video caption: What happened to rough sleepers during the coronavirus lockdown - and what happens next?

    What happened to rough sleepers during the coronavirus lockdown - and what happens next?

  4. Pimlico Angels help homeless over winter

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Pimlico Angels

    A group of mums have made it their mission to help feed and clothe rough sleepers who are returning to the streets of Pimlico and Victoria.

    This isn’t the first winter that Emma Taylor and several of her neighbours will spend helping people on the streets late at night.

    Last year you could find the volunteers known as the Pimlico Angels setting up a stall outside Westminster Cathedral, giving out drinks and hot meals.

    But with unemployment at its highest level for years, brought about by the pandemic, they feel the responsibility to help now more than ever.

    “Rough sleepers are coming back to Victoria and to Lupus Street,” said Ms Taylor, 49, from the Churchill Gardens estate.

    “If you went down to Victoria this evening you would find 20-plus rough sleepers. They are all different ages and backgrounds.”

    The mum-of-five adds: “We have built up a rapport with a lot of them, they’re opening up to us.

    “We have managed to help get four people off the street. We were giving them advice and support.

    “In the middle of lockdown we helped a 17-year-old girl who was selling herself to get money for drugs.”

    From March, the Government found hotel accommodation for thousands of rough sleepers to protect them from the first wave of the virus, as part of its Everyone In initiative.

    Rather than repeating this, funding is being allocated to councils and established charities.

    However, groups like the Pimlico Angels are helping people who still fall through the cracks.

    Ms Taylor said: “When you speak to them and ask if anyone else is giving them help, they say no. “In this day and age we shouldn’t have this.”

  5. Millions for Redbirdge Council to tackle homelessness

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Redbridge Council has been awarded almost £4m by the government to help the homeless, more than eight times the amount given to neighbouring Waltham Forest Council.

    The bulk of the funding, almost £2.5m, will be used to build 26 studio flats for the homeless, 18 at the Ryedale hostel in Ilford and a further eight at a site yet to be decided.

    The council will use the remaining money supporting people in the short-term between now and March next year.

    Waltham Forest Council was awarded £455,387 of short-term funding and no long-term funding.

    The council was asked to comment on this decision and declined to do so.

    Redbridge council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said the extra funding was “certainly welcome news” and will “provide stability for some of our most vulnerable residents”.

  6. Rough sleeper says coronavirus pandemic saved his life

    Video content

    Video caption: Bournemouth rough sleeper says coronavirus restrictions meant he got the help he needed.
  7. Charitable appeal to help homeless people continues despite pandemic

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Items donated to help the homeless

    Volunteers have collected hundreds of sleeping bags and packs of toiletries to support homeless people this winter.

    Layla Roche and her friend Nina McNeill put out an appeal in Hammersmith and Fulham which resulted in people donating sleeping bags, hats and gloves.

    The volunteers will also give out toiletry kits and PPE, including face coverings, gloves and hand sanitisers, as well as packs of food and pet food.

    In previous years they have also given out 30 to 40 survival kits around Victoria Station and more at Earl’s Court.

    'Much worse'

    Ms Roche, who has been unable to do her job selling her crafts at Portobello Market because of an underlying health condition and the pandemic, said: “We started doing this about five years ago when we came across people walking around.

    “It’s literally just the public wanting to help.”

    She said the pandemic meant it’s harder for people to find somewhere like a day centre to shelter inside.

    “I find it cold and freezing but I can come home and get a hot meal. It’s so much worse on the streets.”

    Since the pandemic began, the local council found emergency accommodation for 332 homeless people, including 63 with no recourse to public funds. It was given £473,819 as part of the Government’s Next Steps support for the homeless.

  8. New scheme to prevent homelessness in Plymouth gets £1.25m

    Ed Oldfield

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Plymouth is getting more than £1.25m to help people avoid homelessness.

    The city council says money from the government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme will pay for move-on places and longer-term homes for people in temporary housing.

    The latest funding follows the government’s "Everyone In" programme to provide shelter during the pandemic.

    Plymouth City Council worked with the Plymouth Alliance to find places for more than 200 people at risk of homelessness, and provide extra accommodation for rough-sleepers.

    The Next Steps funding will support work by the Alliance, Bournemouth Churches Housing Association and Plymouth Community Homes, to set up 10 longer term self-contained units and 10 one-bedroom properties.

    The announcement of extra cash received a cross-party welcome in Plymouth, although the ruling Labour Party warned it was not enough to meet all the demands of helping vulnerable people into secure homes.

    The city council’s Conservative opposition group leader, Nick Kelly, said: “This Conservative government, working closely with local authorities, has shown throughout the pandemic that it is willing to take the swift, decisive action necessary to keep some of the most vulnerable people in our community safe."

  9. Kendal charity carries on helping homeless people

    Manna house, the Kendal charity that helps people who are homeless or at risk of becoming so, says it is able to stay open through the lockdown.

    "Evie and Steve" at Manna House

    The organisation provides drop-in sessions, meals and advice for people who are struggling to run their lives and Andrea Alridge from the charity said it has taken all the necessary precautions such as washing hands and social distancing.

    Quote Message: We are relieved to be able to continue to stay open under new guidelines for essential services." from Andrea Alridge
    Andrea Alridge
  10. Funding agreed for more homeless housing

    BBC Midlands Today

    Funding for more than 140 new long-term homes for rough sleepers across the West Midlands has been approved by the government.

    A homeless person

    The accommodation will be available by the end of March paid for with £150m spread across the country.

    In the West Midlands, the largest amount of £820,000 is being spent in Stoke-on-Trent with £782,855 in Coventry.