By Emily Bell, Chair of the Ark.
As the entire country is suffering under the conditions of Covid restrictions, we would ask everyone to spare a thought for those sleeping rough on our streets, whose, already very difficult, lives have been made even harder in recent months.
The Shrewsbury Ark Day Centre is really struggling to provide it's basic services to the rough sleeping community of our town. Our current premises allow for only 2 clients to be admitted into the building at any one time and with around 20 people currently living on our streets, it is almost impossible to provide each of them with the most basic of human needs, like bathroom and laundry facilities.
We are aware that it is not ideal to have our clients queuing outside the building to use our services, but they have nowhere else to go and all have genuine reasons to be waiting to be allowed in to the day centre.
We would ask that you put yourself in their shoes, after a night out on the streets in the cold and the rain, it is understandable that they are desperate to come inside to dry off, warm up and get clean.
Many of them have appointments with our staff and visiting partner services, or are waiting to use the computer to access vital communications regarding their living situations.
We are trying really hard to find more suitable premises, but this takes time and whilst we work towards both short and long term solutions to the current situation, we ask you to remain patient and treat our clients with empathy and respect in these truly testing times.
On a really positive note, our outreach and move-on teams are working harder than ever to move people into accommodation and support them once they find somewhere.
We are seeing some hugely positive results with 5 clients having received the keys to their own front doors in the past couple of weeks. With your continued help and support, we hope many more of our clients will be able to find a permanent home,' before the cold weather sets in.