The chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust, Andy Winter, has written to Brighton and Hove Members of Parliament, Peter Kyle, Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle, asking them to urge Nadhim Zahawi MP, the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, to include homeless people in the priority groups for those to receive the Covid vaccine, together with frontline workers who support them.
In his letter to the Members of Parliament, Andy Winter said:
People with a history of homelessness are old before their time. They have levels of frailty – including unintentional weight loss, feelings of exhaustion, weakness, slow walking speed and low levels of physical activity – comparable to 89-year-olds in the general population. Those with no home have an average of seven long-term health conditions, far higher than people in their 90s.
People with no home die young. The mean age at death of homeless men is 46 years and just 43 years for homeless women as compared to the general population mean age of 76 years for men and 81 years for women.
Just as residents of care homes are at higher clinical risk of severe disease, so are those who use single homeless hostels and other shared homeless accommodation for rough sleepers.
Correspondingly, frontline homelessness support workers are at increased personal risk of exposure to infection with COVID-19 and of transmitting that infection to susceptible and vulnerable people in shared homelessness accommodation.
Throughout the pandemic, BHT’s First Base Day Centre has continued to support those new to rough sleeping, seeing between eight and 12 new rough sleepers every week.
In addition, BHT has provided temporary accommodation in Brighton and Hove for 222 people in 26 properties who would otherwise be homeless:
- 7 properties are in the Hove constituency accommodating 64 homeless people (excluding two care homes accommodating 14 people
- 10 properties in Brighton Pavilion accommodating 108 homeless people
- 9 properties in Brighton Kemptown accommodating 50 homeless people