With good weather expected over the weekend, we have teamed up with North Yorkshire Police to stress the importance of staying home and following social distancing guidelines in York. The UK government advice is to stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible.
York has been highlighted nationally as one of the best cities whose residents and businesses to have most adhered to social distancing [according to data from Google].
How Age UK York are supporting residents, with the help of council volunteers
To help relieve pressure on emergency services, volunteers from the council together with Age UK York are driving discharged hospital patients home.
To help relieve pressure on the emergency services, 25 volunteers from the council’s pool of volunteers who matched Age UK York’s criteria have been deployed to join the charity’s Home from Hospital service and their existing two volunteer drivers.
Suitably experienced volunteers with no underlying health conditions and who aren’t medically-shielding, can opt to transport patients who have had Covid-19. They will use personal protection equipment (PPE) and extra hygiene measures which follow Government guidelines. This includes drivers using 1,800 disposable plastic car seat covers kindly donated by garages:
- Stoneacre Ford York
- Vantage Toyota York
- Butts of Bawtry
- Fulford Auto Services
Another example of the city coming together.
Air quality improvements
New data has revealed that York’s air pollution has significantly reduced during the Coronavirus lockdown as the majority of residents stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
The analysis shows improvements in air quality (nitrogen dioxide concentrations), compared to ‘business as usual’ figures, for specific areas of York, where the council undertakes regular air quality monitoring, including:
- Fishergate: a reduction of 43 per cent
- Fulford Road: a reduction of 28 per cent
- Gillygate: a reduction of 29 per cent
- Heworth Green: a reduction of 27 per cent
- Holgate Road: a reduction of 32 per cent
- Nunnery Lane: a reduction of 38 per cent
- Lawrence Street: a reduction of 29 per cent
- Bootham: a reduction of 16 per cent
Average nitrogen dioxide reduction across all York sites = 30 per cent.
Homelessness and housing update
We are providing accommodation for all homeless households and individuals in the city now and will continue to do so beyond this emergency, as we normally do.
In addition to using our own and partners’ hostel accommodation, we are currently supporting around 35 homeless households – a mix of families, couples and single people – in self-contained bed and breakfast or hotel accommodation offered to us during the emergency.
Depending on each individual’s level of need, single people or rough sleepers are housed in a mix of existing hostels and bed and breakfasts, and in hotel rooms – all in single rooms to allow social distancing and self-isolation.
All the rough sleepers we are supporting are already known to us and the vast majority have accepted the accommodation which each and every one is being offered. We continue to remind them of the lockdown’s requirements, and work hard to persuade them all to come into and stay in their accommodation.
Rough Sleeper services are operating in the usual way. For a bed, please go to 63, Lawrence Street or call 01904 416562 or at evenings or weekends please call 01609 780780.
We are continuing with our services for people who are concerned about becoming homeless and need our advice to help prevent homelessness. This is being done online or by phone on 01904 554500 or via www.york.gov.uk/homelessness/housing-options
. These teams continue to help people facing homelessness through, for example, financial hardship, relationship breakdown or issues with private landlords. We’re also working with landlords across the city to support their tenants and minimise evictions. We’ve seen a slight rise in single people asking our preventative services for help which may be because they usually live with friends or family who now need to self-isolate.
We’re prioritising our work to prepare empty council homes ready to re-let and are finding private rented accommodation harder to come by at the moment. We plan to continue working with hotels and B&Bs for the duration of the lockdown to keep people safely accommodated and we are working on plans to ensure that as we move out of lockdown everyone will have accommodation options.
Where individuals do become homeless and sleep on the streets, we continue to offer tailored support. Whether it’s mental health support, dealing with drug or alcohol abuse, relationship breakdown or poverty, we try and help each individual into suitable accommodation and services. Once they start working with us and our partners in the city – like Changing Lives or the Salvation Army – we can address each person’s needs including getting benefits in place, training for work, money and tenancy management, before helping them into stable accommodation.
While we carry on with this work, we’ve had to be increasingly innovative about safely supporting rough sleepers – especially those with more complex needs or challenging behaviours – while also maintaining social distancing for other clients and our staff. Like all other services, we’re doing more by phone and are prioritising emergencies. With York CVS we are signposting the charities we work with, including SASH, Carecent and Changing Lives, to apply for additional funding for voluntary groups.