“COVID has brought my life together and I’ve been handed help that I never got before…. I’m 68 years old and have been on the streets 5 years…”
Of the people who Mayday spoke to who had moved into a hotel, many had a positive experience and were offered help quickly that wasn’t available to them before COVID. Experiences varied across hotels and locations, but the connection to what some people described as ‘normality’ appeared to have a positive impact on wellbeing.
“Quarantine has been good for me, I’ve been living in a hotel. I didn’t particularly receive any help before, I lived on the streets for about 6 months.”
For some people the sudden and extreme change provided an opportunity to reconsider their life and to make a change, believing that change was possible when previously it hadn’t been.
“COVID kicked me up the backside to come inside. Coming from prison, I was already inside, but this is different. I would never have believed a year ago that I would be inside today. I’m happy to be inside now, I’m feeling healthier.”
For a small number of people moving into a hotel resulted in moving into more permanent accommodation, this was seen as a positive move, although people expressed anxiety over what would happen after this point.
“I went into a hotel, it was fine. I worked with Connections already so they put me in a hotel straight away. I was there for 3 months. I’m now in a studio flat from the council where I can stay for three months. After that who knows.”
People expressed confusion and anger as to why they had no choice but to sleep on the streets before, for years in some cases, and then suddenly, due to COVID, many people were given somewhere safe to stay.
“Before we weren’t important, left outside. Then all of a sudden we’re in. It’s only because they thought we might make them sick. As long as they’re ok.”
“It was as if we weren’t human, homeless people are not seen as human and no one cares about us.”