“I was homeless myself for 22 weeks, I’ve been on the streets, I’ve seen the horrors. I’ve experienced the horrors.”
On New Years Day 2020, Jorawar Singh Rathour set out to provide those sleeping rough in his neighbourhood with food and hot drinks. He’d seen the people on the streets while passing through the area of north London and, having been in their situation, wanted to help.
“Whenever I travelled through Finsbury Park, words that would come to mind were alarming, depressing, eye-opening. At any given time, there were around 10 people under the bridge. It was very difficult to see that.”
The huge response on that day, followed by the pandemic, pushed Rathour into setting up the London Homeless Welfare Team, which he runs with family members. They all volunteer to provide rough sleepers with food and Covid packs throughout the pandemic.
With homelessness expected to increase over the coming months due to furlough ending and universal credit being cut, the team are looking to expand and have recently set up a new partnership with Sainsbury’s. They are also trying to source a van to help with distributions.
“On New Year’s Day, we just set up a small stall near the station, we were shocked and horrified at how many people we ended up helping on that day. It must have been 40 or 50.