Lifehouse residents in Wales prioritised for vaccination
published on 16 Mar 2021
Ty Gobaith Lifehouse in Cardiff has hosted a vaccination clinic, with residents receiving their first Covid-19 vaccination just hours after the Welsh Government announced it was moving homeless people up the priority lists
Wayne, a resident at the Lifehouse who was one of the first in Cardiff to receive the vaccine, said: “I’m pleased because I will be able to have a bit more contact with my family. It’s been a long year and hopefully we are going to start moving on from this and put it behind us.”
Underlying health conditions often made worse by sleeping on the streets mean former rough sleepers and people who’ve been homeless are at higher risk of COVID-19 complications.
Yvonne Connolly, homelessness services regional manager for Wales and the South West, said: “This is about inclusive healthcare. It’s ensuring people who have or are experiencing homelessness, some of the most vulnerable people in our society are given equal opportunity and priority for access to the vaccine”
“There was a real buzz on site from residents and staff. People who experience homelessness or who are living in supported accommodation often feel ignored or overlooked by society, so this was a way of saying ‘you do matter’ as well as them stepping up to play their part in recovering from this pandemic”
The decision by The Welsh Government to prioritise people who are homeless was welcomed by staff and residents at the Lifehouse, which offers supported housing to more than 60 men and women.
Hugh Carter, service manager at Ty Gobaith, added: “This was about opportunity and we are thankful that the Welsh government are targeting a really vulnerable demographic.
“There was some anxiety from some of the residents. They are used to feeling dismissed by those in authority, so it takes time to build up trust. For those that chose not to have their first jab on Thursday, there will be another opportunity for them to have it in a few weeks time when those that did get their second jab.”
Support workers, corps officers and volunteers across The Salvation Army have been encouraging people to get vaccinated, and providing spaces for vaccinating to take place.
England will now follow suit in prioritising homeless people alongside those aged 16 to 65 with underlying conditions that put them at increased risk.
Ty Gobaith Lifehouse is a supported Lifehouse for single people over the age of 18. It also has a 15-bed Bridge Alcohol and Treatment Programme run in partnership with the Cardiff Addictions Unit, which offers on-site detox, treatment programmes and post-resettlement support.
The service is unique in having a treatment programme onsite, and it is the only treatment pathway readily accessible to rough sleepers with chaotic substance use in Wales.