Having donated £1m between April and July to help those impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, Freemasons are now focusing on protecting the homeless, with a new series of donations worth £850,000 across England and Wales.
The homeless crisis has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with many people losing their jobs and finding themselves either living on the streets or in unsuitable living conditions. In 2019 Shelter estimated that 280,000 people were homeless in England whilst the Greater London Authority reported 4,227 people sleeping rough in London between April and June, of which 2,680 were sleeping on the streets for the first time.
The funds raised will help provide safe living conditions, healthcare, meals, and employment opportunities for the homeless; as well as helping protect them from the winter weather, which kills hundreds of homeless people every year. In addition, Freemasons will be volunteering their time at 26 homeless support organisations.
Freemasons will provide:
Dr David Staples, chief executive of the Freemasons’ United Grand Lodge of England, said: “We are expecting a harsh winter this year and so it’s essential to protect and support the homeless. Hundreds die every year on our streets during the winter, which is a shocking statistic, and due to the pandemic many vulnerable people have found themselves on the streets for the first time.
“In this second phase of donations, following our initial contributions during the Covid-19 crisis, we have donated the largest part of the funding towards helping the homeless. We hope this will provide those in need with somewhere safe to stay during winter but also offer them more long term help to get off the streets and into secure accommodation.”