Each of Borderline’s clients has his or her own story. Our latest research highlights that homeless Scots in London face complex and often interconnected issues, significantly higher than UK clients in general across the board.
69% of our clients have drug misuse issues
58% face alcohol misuse issues
73% have mental health support needs
65% have physical health needs
62% report having spent time in prison
31% have been spent time in care
Many of our clients have been rough sleeping across a number of years. As such, we work one-to-one with clients to provide the long-term support necessary to tackle these complex issues. We will be there for our clients for as long as we are needed, even after we have supported them into accommodation.
Like most charities, COVID19 has had a significant impact on Borderline. It presents a significant challenge to the nature of our face-to-face work helping homeless Scots across London. Typically, we build relationships over time by meeting clients to ultimately support them to engage with the relevant services they need. Our priority throughout has been the safety of both our staff and clients.
In late March, we conducted health risk assessments for all our clients, which identified that almost all were at increased risk of contracting the virus with their multiple physical health problems putting them at serious risk of death if they remained on the streets. In line with Government guidelines, our team swiftly adapted to continue to support our clients remotely. In the planning stages before the first lockdown, we distributed mobile phones to clients so we could maintain regular contact and check on client welfare. Our outreach team have also provided practical support around assisting clients with benefits, providing financial grants for clothing and home starter packs.
Beyond this, we are coordinating with our frontline partners across London to ensure our clients have access to food essentials and critical mental and physical health services. We supported rough sleepers into emergency shelter across London during lockdown. Whilst they were indoors, we urgently responded to their specific needs to ensure they had continued access to food, clothing and other essentials.
As this emergency shelter ended in late July, we assisted our clients to transition into alternative housing. We supported them practically with financial grants for clothing and home starter packs, and provided continued welfare support with regular phone calls.
COVID19 has also significantly impacted our regular fundraising activities, with planned events being cancelled and the financial position of many of our partners still unclear. The resilience and commitment of all our team, as well as collaboration with our network of partners, has meant that we have continued to meet the varied needs of our clients. At Borderline, we will continue to adapt throughout this unprecedented period to ensure the long-term future of the charity.