Coronavirus: Homeless charities say finances are 'tighter than ever' as demand soars

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Andrew Pate

The problems surrounding homelessness in the South East are increasing every day, according to local charities.

They say more people will become homeless because of increasing financial difficulties, while those trying to support them are quickly running out of money.

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Launchpad, a Reading-based charity which has set up an emergency appeal, has been offering accommodation and supplies to homeless people.

It says it needs financial donations in order to help vulnerable clients.

Scott Fraser from the charity says: "Clients who've already been affected by homelessness usually already have poor mental health or underlying health issues. Some may be affected by substance use or alcohol issues and the impact of the coronavirus on that is increasing the risk of relapse or deterioration of mental health."

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Meanwhile Turning Tides, which has been supporting rough sleepers in West Sussex for almost thirty years, says things will 'only get worse'.

Chief Executive John Holstrom says: "We have to stay strong through this crisis, but out the other end, in six to twelve months, there is no doubt there is a pipeline of new people who are going to become homeless as their personal circumstances are affected."

And Kent charity Porchlight says its finances have 'never been tighter', as the need is greater than ever.

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A traumatic incident in his past causes Pat to have night terrors, leaving him screaming in his sleep.

So far the city council hasn't been able to find anywhere willing to take him on.

I'd love to be indoors. I'd love to be indoors and away from this, I absolutely hate this. Sitting down and begging. I honestly feel degraded. It's horrible."

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Situations like Pat's mean Elle's packed lunches are more important than ever.

Every Sunday for the last year, the eight-year-old has been delivering food to the homeless, travelling around Southampton with her mum looking for people in need of help.

During these uncertain times, she continues to deliver food to the homeless in the city.

This time, she was joined by MP Caroline Nokes.

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What is really striking now is a lot of the homeless are reliant on passersby for food, for drink, for money. And of course there aren't any passersby. Southampton is really, really quiet, which is as it should be, but that means these people are finding it even harder to get food."

Caroline Nokes MP, Romsey and Southampton North, Con