While some other organisations shut their doors during lockdown, that wasn’t an option for those of us on the frontline.

At the Ormeau Centre, for people facing homelessness, we work where people live, so we had to hit the ground running to make sure those we support were not forgotten about. As mental health services became harder to access and benefits offices closed down or moved online, we had to find solutions for the challenges being thrown up daily for our residents.

It was certainly tough for them, as they became frustrated and bored, stuck in rooms with little or no distraction. And it was tough on the staff too, as we tried to make sense of what was happening. Each and every one of us had a moment of crisis, when the fear took over.

Food support for the poor, homeless hands submitting free food from volunteers

Over the course of 2020 we lost two mums, a dad, two grandparents, an uncle and an aunt, but we removed 70 men and women from homelessness too. We gave them somewhere to live and helped the majority of them to move on to more settled accommodation.

Only one service user tested positive for Covid throughout that first long summer, and they went on to make a full recovery.

Vivien Harvey, Manager, Ormeau Centre