Jersey charity fears winter homelessness crisis following pandemic

The Shelter Trust says demand more than doubled during the height of the pandemic as seasonal workers were laid off. Credit: PA Images

Jersey's homeless shelter is predicting a "perfect storm" of problems this winter that could lead to hundreds of people without a roof over their heads. The Shelter Trust says demand more than doubled during the height of the pandemic as seasonal workers were laid off. It is warning there could be worse to come as government support for wages and jobs is phased out.

We will look after those people until they can get back on their feet and find mainstream accommodation because that's what we try to do but it's so much more difficult during a pandemic because there's just nowhere else for them to go.

Neville Benbow, The Shelter Trust

The shelter supports 90-100 at any one time during normal times and helped 210 people at the height of the coronavirus crisis.

The charity fears that these numbers could rise again going into the winter months.

£1.5 million

annual running costs of Shelter Trust

£3 million

likely current annual running costs due to growth in demand.

The charity currently needs nine shelters to manage the scale of homelessness in Jersey. This is a rise from six shelters before the pandemic.

The politician in charge of housing, meanwhile, says a review into the causes of homelessness is underway.

We need to identify how people are falling through the cracks. Often we found the causes of homelessness are not as much to do with the cost of rent as some people may think, it's something to do with something else, it could be an alcohol or drugs problem, it can be difficult for some people, or it might be because of relationship breakdowns or because they don't have housing qualifications.

Senator Sam Mézec, Jersey's Housing Minister

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