Whenever the overnight temperature is forecast to fall below freezing, the Glaziers lounge at Selhurst Park will be converted into a temporary overnight shelter for up 10 rough sleepers, staffed by volunteers, including Club staff, and specialists from the council’s homelessness services. New arrivals are welcomed with a camp bed for the night, a hot evening meal, breakfast and washing facilities before the space is converted back for normal club use each morning.
Rough sleepers are offered advice by staff from Croydon Council’s Gateway homelessness prevention service and its specialist outreach support workers from Thames Reach, who will try to help the guests find long-term alternatives to rough sleeping. When Selhurst Park is unavailable because of scheduled home matches, and over the Christmas period, the council will continue to refer rough sleepers to other emergency shelters in Croydon and central London.
Crystal Palace Football Club chief executive Phil Alexander said: “Following the success of the scheme last winter, we are re-opening our emergency shelter to help those most in need. We are working in collaboration with Croydon Council and our objective is not only to give rough sleepers a bed for the night, but also to help get them off the streets. Last year, we were able to find jobs for two people referred to the shelter.
“We are very grateful to all the volunteers and club staff who give their time to make this happen and to Sainsbury’s Crystal Palace for donating food.”
Councillor Alison Butler, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for homes and Gateway services, said: “The council does a huge amount of community partnership work with local organisations to help Croydon people, and one of the great examples is the Selhurst Park emergency homeless shelter.
“By opening this shelter for the second winter running, Crystal Palace FC is once again playing a crucial role in supporting the council’s wider proactive work to get rough sleepers off the streets and on the road to a better future.”