Crystal Palace to shelter homeless at Selhurst Park stadium in UK
(CNN) — With temperatures across the United Kingdom set to drop below zero over the next week, English Premier League club Crystal Palace has warmed hearts by agreeing to open its doors to homeless people during extreme weather conditions.
The London-based club will turn a lounge at its Selhurst Park stadium into a temporary overnight shelter for up to 10 rough sleepers whenever night-time temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing.
In conjunction with Croydon Council, a camp bed will be provided — as well as a hot evening meal, breakfast and washing facilities — to people referred to the stadium by outreach staff.
The emergency shelter was made available for the first time on Thursday with eight people accommodated.
In a statement, Crystal Palace chief executive Phil Alexander said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Croydon Council and their partner agencies to ensure that rough sleepers can find an emergency shelter in the event of severe winter weather.
“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.”
When the stadium is unavailable due to home matches, Croydon Council said it would refer rough sleepers to other emergency shelters in the area and central London.
According to figures released by Combined Homeless and Information Network (CHAIN) in November, a record number of people were sleeping rough in London with 3,103 rough sleepers found in the capital between July and September 2018.
Palace was praised on social media for its efforts. Emma Jean said on Twitter: “Well done to Crystal Palace for showing compassion & offering emergency shelter to the homeless,” while Dr Chris Whitaker said: “With creative solutions like this a huge difference can be made.”