Peter’s Story

Look Ahead are currently delivering two hotels in South London that have been established to provide emergency accommodation and support for rough sleepers during the coronavirus pandemic. They are funded by the Greater London Authority and provide 250 bedspaces a night. Peter, 57, is currently staying at one of these hotels, a ‘protect’ site, that supports people who may be particularly vulnerable to coronavirus because of a pre-existing condition.

I had been sleeping rough for a while, when the lockdown started. When the pandemic first happened, I didn’t know what to make of it really. I have never seen anything like this in my life; I didn’t even think it was possible.

The police spoke to me out on the streets and gave me a number to call. I found out about this hotel in South London that Look Ahead were running and I ended up taking a taxi straight there. I’ve now been here for about two months.

When I arrived, everyone was very friendly. I signed some paperwork, was told about how the hotel works and the rules and then went to my room. The rooms here are nice; you have all the basics you need including a television, Wi-Fi and a telephone to make calls.

The staff bring around three meals a day to my room, dropping them at the door. The staff have been brilliant and help out in any way they can. Thankfully my health hasn’t been an issue since I arrived here, although I know that if I do have symptoms there are people here who can help me.

“The staff have been brilliant and help out in any way they can.”

I’m a bricklayer by trade but normally I’m only in work three to four months a year because I also have mental health issues. Since the pandemic, I haven’t been able to work at all so that has been difficult.

The days can be long and I keep to myself mostly – we all have to isolate or socially distance anyways. But the nice weather has made it easier. Recently, I’ve been able to take more long walks to break up the day. I also stay in touch with people over the phone, I’ve always done this and this hasn’t changed since the pandemic.

But the toughest part is the uncertainty. I only know for sure what is happening now but don’t know for sure what will happen in the future. I don’t watch the news anymore because it’s too depressing. It’s tough, but everyone is doing their best.