Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have this year helped leading national homelessness charities Crisis and Depaul UK provide vital and innovative accommodation solutions to over a thousand people facing homelessness during the pandemic.

Crisis works with adults experiencing homelessness and Depaul focuses on younger people facing homelessness – both working across the country. The support of players has helped fund accommodation projects across both charities, providing a safe place to stay for people in both the long and short-term.

This year players helped fund the Nightstop service run by Depaul UK, which provides emergency, same-night accommodation for young people who would otherwise face a night on the streets by placing them in the homes of trained volunteer hosts.

So far this year, Depaul UK has provided more than 300 young people with somewhere safe to stay and prevented the pandemic from pushing them into long-term homelessness.

Alongside this, players have helped Crisis to support over 900 of their members into a long-term stable place to call home. A further twenty people across London have been supported into permanent housing through the Crisis-led Housing First project there.

Housing First is a successful approach to ending homelessness, especially for people who have experienced homelessness for a long time and who may have complex needs. By providing a stable home and following up with the right support, far more people can successfully end their homelessness than through other initiatives currently used in the UK.

New figures published this month by Crisis estimate that over 200,000 people across England have experienced some of the worst forms of homelessness this year, including rough sleeping and sofa-surfing. With the financial pressure caused by the pandemic mounting for many and unemployment expected to peak at 2.6 million next year, the work of both charities to prevent people becoming homeless, and to help them out of homelessness when they are, has never been more important.

Talking about her own experience of homelessness, Jodie, 18, from Greater Manchester said: “I got kicked out of my house on my 18th birthday but thankfully a friend recommended Nightstop. I stayed with Nightstop from May to early July, and if it weren’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be here. All of the hosts were so friendly and welcoming.

“A service like Nightstop is really important because it gives people somewhere to stay and helps them get back on their feet. For me, the whole experience made me feel safe and like there are people out there who actually care.”

Over the last five years, players have raised a combined total of over £16 million, funding projects across both Crisis and Depaul and helping to tackle homelessness across the country. Players of People’s Postcode Lottery will continue  to support both organisations into 2021, when we could see even more people facing homelessness due to the long-lasting economic impact of the pandemic.

Mike Thiedke, Chief Executive of Depaul UK, said “The past nine months have placed an increasing amount of pressure on young people who were already on the verge of homelessness. For many, this pressure has pushed them over the edge and we’re now seeing a growing number of young people sleeping on the streets across the country.

“Thankfully, with the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are able to be flexible, innovative in our thinking and meet the need when it presents itself. One example of this is our Nightstop network, through which we’ve been able to provide safety and stability at a time of uncertainty for young people with nowhere left to turn.

“Although a vaccination programme is now starting, we know that the pandemic’s impact will continue to be felt by people across the country for years to come. With the continued support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we hope to be able to continue working with many people in a way that meets their needs and helps them escape homelessness so that they too can share in the optimism about the future.”

On the support received this year, Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said, “This year has shown us all just how important it is to have a safe place to call home. It’s also highlighted just how dangerous it can be for people sleeping on the streets, in crowded shelters or going from sofa to sofa.

“Helping someone into long-term accommodation where they can start to rebuild their life and access vital support is the best way to make sure people are able to leave homelessness behind for good.

“It’s because of the generous support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery that we have been able to provide this life-changing support to hundreds of people up and down the country, giving them hope of a future away from homelessness. On behalf of everyone at Crisis, I’d like to thank players for their continued support, helping us to be here for those who need us in now and in the future.”

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “The services provided by both Crisis and Depaul UK are helping so many people across the country who are living through the most difficult of circumstances. They allow those who don’t have a place to call home with light at the end of the tunnel and I am delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have supported, and will continue to support, their important work.”

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