BERNAT LÓPEZ / © XTREMFOOTBALL
A Premier League club has offered part of its stadium as an emergency shelter for rough sleepers. Crystal Palace FC will turn part of Selhurst Park in south London into a space where up to 10 homeless people can sleep when temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing.
They will also be given a hot meal, breakfast and washing facilities, said Croydon Council, who helped set it up. Eight people used the emergency shelter on Thursday night. They slept on camp beds which were set up in a lounge inside the club’s ground.
The space is returned to normal club use in the mornings. When the team plays home games, rough sleepers will be referred to other emergency shelters in the borough and in central London. Support workers will seek to advise those using the shelter and help get them into longer-term accommodation.
A force for good
Crystal Palace chief executive Phil Alexander said the club hopes to “be a force for good” in the local community. “We are delighted to be collaborating with Croydon Council and their partner agencies to ensure that rough sleepers can find an emergency shelter in the event of severe winter weather”, he added.
“The club wants to be a force for good in the community and we are happy to do our bit to help those most in need”, Alexander told.
Crystal Palace players Mamadou Sakho and Christian Benteke recently visited the Skylight Centre, a community hub for homeless people run by the charity Crisis. Local homelessness rose by 50% last year, according to the charity.