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Homeless charity working with Public Health to protect Island's 'most vulnerable'

Graih in talks over helping homeless with COVID-19

The island's homelessness charity has been forced to close its drop-in centre to protect the health of 'the most vulnerable' from coronavirus.
Graih, which helped 300 people last year, says the decision was made after government advice on social distancing.
The charity will continue however to operate its night shelter to those who are symptom free, but given the likely mental health problems caused by the virus, demand for the service is now expected to increase.
That's according to coordinator and community worker Erica Irwin, who says announcing the closure was 'gutting' but inevitable. 

Talks are being held with the Department of Health and Social Care over how Graih can assist those who have the virus but have no place to stay.

It's understood a coordinated plan has yet to be put in place, but the charity does have the capacity to assist one person self isolate. 
Though the number of homeless in the country remains unknown, Mrs Irwin says the Island has 'a large sofa surfing community'.

"My job is to be a voice for the homeless and for the vulnerable" she told Manx Radio, "and I'll make sure they're not forgotten."

Mrs Iriwn spoke to Aaron Ibanez:

Support to those who rely on Graih will now involve regular contact with community workers who will make home visits.
The charity's drop in centre, which is run by volunteers, offers food and social interaction to those who need it, as well as access to mental health and housing support. 

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