Having donated £1m between April and July to help those impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, Freemasons are now focusing on protecting the homeless, with a new series of donations across England and Wales.
The homeless crisis has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with many people losing their jobs and finding themselves either living on the streets or in unsuitable living conditions. In 2019 Shelter estimated that 280,000 people were homeless in England whilst the Greater London Authority reported 4,227 people sleeping rough in London between April and June, of which 2,680 were sleeping on the streets for the first time.
The funds raised will help provide safe living conditions, healthcare, meals, and employment opportunities for the homeless; as well as helping protect them from the winter weather, which kills hundreds of homeless people every year. In addition, Freemasons will be volunteering their time at 26 homeless support organisations.
Among the organisations being prioritised by UGLE, the governing body for Freemasons in England and Wales, are local arms of homeless charity Emmaus. The money is being distributed to Emmaus centres located in Surrey, Yorkshire, Kent, Oxford, Bedfordshire, Lancashire, Hampshire, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Middlesex.
These initiatives are just the start of phase two of the Freemasons’ donations, and in January, UGLE will announce the next round of donation packages and charitable initiatives.