Crystal Palace have opened the doors of their Selhurst Park stadium as an emergency shelter to homeless people.
Under a deal with Croydon Council, a lounge at the Crystal Palace stadium has been turned into a temporary shelter for up to 10 people sleeping on the streets on occasions when the night-time temperature is forecast to fall below freezing point.
Those rough sleepers will be identified by outreach staff and can use a camp bed for the night with a hot evening meal, breakfast and washing facilities available too.
In the morning, the rough sleepers are consulted by the council’s Gateway homelessness prevention service and Thames Reach support workers who offer longer-term accommodation, financial advice and help with any medical needs to prevent them from returning to the streets.
The facilities were first used on Thursday last week, when eight homeless people slept at the stadium.
“Freezing temperatures are a particular safety risk for rough sleepers and this is a wonderful gesture by Crystal Palace for helping us reduce that risk,” councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for Homes and Gateway services, said.
Palace chief executive Phil Alexander was grateful to his staff for donating their time to make this happen.
“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,” he said.