‘We could be looking at a very hard winter’
Despite government measures, prospects for the street homeless are looking grim as winter approaches. Lucy McKitterick, manager of the King’s Lynn night shelter, explains.
At the start of lockdown, the government asked all night shelters to move residents into individual rooms. Some of them the council weren’t able to help, because they came from out of area, and there were others who were moved into the emergency accommodation but were evicted quite quickly.
I went down to the river to a junkyard next to where the boats come in, where a couple had built a shack out of pallets. I bought them fish and chips, got various churches to help them with food parcels, and tried to give them a bit of pastoral support, because they were quite down really.
Most of our partner organisations were working from home or telephone only, and for a time I seemed to be the only person apart from the police actually going out and about.
The main challenge as winter approaches is that this is a vicarage with some very big bedrooms, and from a covid point of view we won’t be able to house as many people as we would like. And more people will be needing a night shelter because people are losing their jobs, families break up, people get evicted, so we could be looking at a very hard winter.
The people on the street at the moment have nowhere to go. When we get to November or December and it’s snowing, it’s going to be a real problem. Because if I am turning away someone on the doorstep and it’s snowing, how are we going to feel if they’re found dead in the morning?
The support of congregations, the carol services, the harvest suppers are all appreciated. If you think nobody cares for you and you come to night shelter, and you know everything you are given has been provided out of love by someone, that makes a huge difference.
Editor’s note: you can contact Lucy McKitterick on 01553 776109, firstname.lastname@example.org
King’s Lynn night shelter will be looking for volunteers again this winter for a variety of roles including evening, early morning and overnight shifts: cooking, offering hospitality, welcoming and chatting with homeless guests. All volunteers work in small teams led by staff members; you do not need previous experience of working with the homeless.
The next training sessions are on 8, 13 and 15 October at 7pm at St John’s Church PE30 1NT.
You can book via this link:
Pictured above is Lucy McKitterick. Image and original story from Imagine Norfolk Together