In March of last year, as the devastating impacts of the coronavirus were beginning to emerge across the country, Peace Partners sought to align ourselves with those groups and individuals working the frontlines of the pandemic to ensure their continued support for vulnerable populations. We know the virus has had a disproportionate impact on low-income and at-risk communities, and that humanitarian services are essential to their health and safety.
And so it was that we launched our St. Mungo’s fundraising campaign during this time of intense pressure, bolstering support for their mission to provide secure, isolated housing for rough sleepers. We were exceedingly humbled by the outpouring of support we received from our members, as together we raised £1,929 to benefit St. Mungo’s in their time of need. As we mark the anniversary of our campaign, Peace Partners would like to provide a brief update on the work of St. Mungo’s, and highlight some of the persistent challenges they anticipate going forward.
Most encouraging of all are the recent pool of statistics published by the Ministry for Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG), which found the number of rough sleepers on a single Autumn night across the country at its lowest level in seven years, with a pronounced reduction between years 2019 (4,266 individuals) and 2020 (2,688 individuals). St. Mungo’s also report a 37% drop in rough sleeping as a result of their ‘everyone in’ campaign, highlighting the efficacy of their all-hands-on-deck approach to this complicated societal issue.
Steve Douglas CBE, Chief Executive with St. Mungo’s, recently spoke on the successful, coordinated support of community groups and local officials to combat rough sleeping during the pandemic:
“Undeniably, the pandemic has strengthened partnership working and created an unprecedented opportunity to build relationships and help support thousands of people to recover from homelessness. Many of whom have been accommodated for the first time in years.”
This is positive news indeed, but there is still a great deal of work to do as we enter the second year of this pandemic. Homelessness is not a static issue and requires constant vigilance to keep from skyrocketing, especially as we continue to see rising unemployment amid the growing economic downturn. Peace Partners remain committed to St. Mungo’s humanitarian mission, and we invite our supporters to stay abreast of their ongoing campaigns by visiting their website at www.mungos.org.