A walk round any major city in England will emphasise the problem of homelessness to anyone. Crystal Palace have become the first club to turn their facilities into a homeless shelter.
Recent research by homeless charity Crisis found 6,180 in London living either on the streets or sleeping in tents or on public transport and it’s a problem that can be seen throughout the country.
The number across the country has doubled in two years to 12,300 with Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes saying, back in December, “This situation simply cannot continue...We know homelessness can be ended. Earlier this year we set out the exact government policies that would end homelessness across Britain.
“Our research shows that with these policies in place, homelessness could be ended in just 10 years.”
Crystal Palace have now become the first football club to take steps towards helping with the problem as they have teamed up with Croydon Council to open their doors.
Under the agreement with the council the Eagles will open one of the lounges at the stadium when temperatures drop below freezing.
There are 10 camp beds on offer and, according to the Evening Standard, those who are referred by outreach staff will also get a hot evening meal, breakfast and washing facilities.
The beds at Selhurst Park. Image: Crystal Palace/Croydon Council
In the morning those who have used the facilities will be helped to longer term assistance by Thames Reach support workers and the room will be transformed back for normal usage.
Councillor Alison Butler said, “Freezing temperatures are a particular safety risk for rough sleepers and this is a wonderful gesture by Crystal Palace for helping us reduce that risk.
“I do hope that the actions and support of our local Premier League football club will encourage more businesses in Croydon to get in touch and do what they can to help us address homelessness. Crystal Palace are setting a standard for other clubs to follow.”
A member of staff serves food. Image: Crystal Palace/Croydon Council
Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany, along with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, have set up charity ‘Tackle4MCR’ to help tackle the homeless problem in the city.
The City captain has pledged to donate all the profits from his testimonial season with his club to the charity.
Hopefully Crisis are right and the problem can be ended sooner rather than later. Crystal Palace and Kompany are doing great work to help that happen.