Crisis at Christmas
What is Crisis at Christmas?
Right now, thousands of people at the sharp end of poverty are at risk of being pushed into homelessness. People are being forced into making unthinkable choices between eating, heating or keeping a roof over their head. Every year Crisis at Christmas opens its doors to people who are facing homelessness at Christmas. As a national charity we offer much needed warmth, healthcare, food and company to people experiencing homelessness across the UK. Everyone who comes to Crisis is a valued individual, treated with respect, listened to and cared for – and it’s the start of specialist support that lasts all year round. From skills training to help with employment, people get the support they need to leave homelessness behind and find a safe and secure home. And they’ll have someone standing by their side for as long as it takes. Learn more about Crisis at Christmas.
What is Crisis at Christmas?
Crisis at Christmas is a campaign we run that helps us provide warm meals, shelter, support and companionship at Christmas to those experiencing homelessness. More than that, the impact of Crisis at Christmas lasts long after Christmas as guests are introduced to Crisis’ year-round training, education and support to leave homelessness behind for good.
What did Crisis at Christmas 2021 involve?
With the help of generous supporters and volunteers, we opened hotels and hub services over the festive weeks. Supported by 1,860 volunteers across the country, each working together to provide companionship, support and a wide range of vital services, each location delivered a safe, warm and friendly place over Christmas for many people experiencing homelessness.
Where are the Crisis at Christmas locations in London?
In 2021, we opened four hubs in London which opened from Christmas Eve until 28 December.
Guests were able to access the hubs between 11 am and 4 pm each day. Our hubs offered hot food and meals, clothing and wellbeing packs, access to advice and support and, where possible, access to Covid and flu vaccinations for our guests who are eligible and would like them. In order to keep our guests and volunteers safe, our hubs were provided with a takeaway style service.
We ran three hotels for guests in London, which opened on Wednesday 22 December until Wednesday 5 January. Guests were also introduced to Crisis’ support services and were given advice on things like welfare, longer-term housing and employment, putting them on a path out of homelessness for good.
In 2022, we plan to open four Day Centres which will be open from Christmas Eve until the 28th December.
Camden Day Centre (Haverstock School)
Bermondsey Day Centre (Harris Academy Bermondsey)
Notting Hill Day Centre (Kensington Aldridge Academy)
Hackney Day Centre (The City Academy, Hackney)
What about Crisis at Christmas in other regions of Great Britain?
We are still committed to ensuring our members are not homeless and alone this Christmas. As such, we delivered hot food, ensured that our members have access to advice and guidance, provided a befriending service, and online health, wellbeing and entertainment activities. This enabled us to continue to offer support and connection in a socially distanced way and also provided some new volunteering opportunities across the regions of Great Britain.
To find out what's happening this year in different regions across Great Britain, visit our what's on near you section.
Was Crisis at Christmas different in 2021 because of the pandemic?
In 2020, we had to radically review and redesign the Christmas offer to respond to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. For two weeks we accommodated around 511 guests in hotel rooms around London. Our guests told us that they benefited from more privacy and a space, albeit temporary, they could call their own. We have learnt a lot through our review and evaluation of Christmas 2020 and as a result, we made some changes to how we ran our project in 2021.
This has been led by feedback from our guests and we hope that this will bring the best benefits of both 2020 and previous Christmases to our guests. Due to the developing situation with the Covid pandemic and in order to keep our guests and volunteers as safe as possible, in 2021, we offered hub service in London, operating a takeaway style service.
How can I support Crisis at Christmas?
Back in the 1990's I knew someone whose lover had died of Aids. He had a breakdown through grief and lost his job, his mortgage was not paid and he lost his home and ended up homeless. The council put him in a hostel where he had to take everything with him all day as otherwise it would be stolen and if he did not return to the hostel at a certain time, he would loose his bed in the dorm and end up on the streets again. I offered to assist him with some very well paid work that would take maybe, only a week or two to gather 3 months rent and get himself back in a home;- have an address and would then be in a position to start rebuilding his life - but when he learned it would be through escort business, he was horrified, absolutely horrified and stated he would rather stay homeless, so that's exactly where I left him.
Some people do not want help and regardless of what he was offered, the thought of having sex for money was more repugnant to him that living in a homeless shelter - and while I luxuriated in my luxury 3 story terrace house in west London, he was in a hostel and refused to help himself when help was offered.
The offer was made. The offer was refused. I moved on and he stayed where he was. His choice.
At Hamilton Hall we have helped hundreds of people who could not afford a holiday - a few days R&R and many have been in a desperate position mentally and where a few days away - someone showing care - helps enormously;- BUT - you have to be able to help yourself and not always rely on someone else all the time. You have to know when it is time to do something for yourself and as much as people help, you cannot and must not take it for granted and expect it to always be the case. It won't and is up to you to stand on your own two feet eventually. People will always be there to help, but if you do not attempt to help yourself, then the failing is all yours. Own it.
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