The fight against coronavirus is in full swing. Anyone who is in a group of three or more but does not keep a distance of 1.5 meters, can be fined. With these stricter measures, the government is trying to prevent the spread of the virus. This is how we protect the elderly and other immunocompromised individuals. But what about our vulnerable homeless people?
Number of shelter places decreases
"Because of the coronacrisis, shelters currently have less space available for homeless people," explains Bas Timmer. After all, people have to keep their distance. There are also homeless people who are afraid to use the shelter for fear of the virus.” As a result, the number of homeless people sleeping on the street is growing rapidly.
“Many homeless people are in moderate to poor health”
“Many homeless people are in moderate to poor health,” continues Bas. "They have to sleep outside at temperatures around freezing." Additionally, there is the problem of personal hygiene. Washing hands regularly to keep corona at bay is not an option for a homeless person. “They can’t simply pop into a bar for a quick wash. After all, the hospitality industry has closed its doors for the time being.”
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Race against the clock
That is why Bas, seated behind the wheel of the Sheltersuit camper, is currently driving around to several Dutch cities. He delivers packs to foundations and shelters, as they know best who is in need of a Sheltersuit. It is a race against the clock.
His first stop is De Regenboog Groep in Amsterdam where Jorn is a social worker. Jorn: “Our biggest challenge is to continue to help people with all the limitations that are currently being imposed. We’ve been approaching certain individuals who we know spend the night outside to ask if they need a suit. Fortunately, they do realize that the suits are ideal for the rough outdoors, moreover because you can quickly run away in an emergency. "
Social worker Jorn from De Regenboog Groep.
The Salvation Army in Rotterdam is the second place where Bas stops. In total, he delivered 250 packs to various locations around Amsterdam and Rotterdam. “The suits are piled up to the ceiling of the Sheltersuit camper.” The foundation has a stock of about 900 Sheltersuits and the social workshop is running at full speed to continue to produce additional suits.
Handing over Sheltersuits to the Salvation Army in Rotterdam.
Bas: “The telephone is ringing off the hook. Plenty of people want to help us. From marketers to designers. Wealthy individuals also donate generously. We are grateful for any donation, once or recurring.”