Crystal Palace football club lounge provides beds to rough sleepers

19 January 2019, 08:08 | Updated: 19 January 2019, 10:10

Rough sleepers have been given emergency shelter by a Premier League football club.

Crystal Palace has converted a lounge at the club's Selhurst Park stadium to accommodate up to 10 homeless people when temperatures are forecast to plunge below freezing.

Camp beds, a hot evening meal, breakfast and washing facilities will be provided, said Croydon Council which is working with the club on the initiative.

The emergency shelter opened its doors on Thursday when eight people were brought in from the cold.

Palace's chief executive Phil Alexander said the club wanted to be a "force for the good in the community".

He 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."

Palace have forged a strong relationship with the homeless charity Crisis and first team stars Mamadou Sakho and Christian Benteke visited its Skylight centre in Croydon in December.

Councillor Alison Butler said: "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.

"I do hope that the actions and support of our local Premier League football club will encourage more businesses in Croydon to get in touch and do what they can to help us address homelessness.

"Crystal Palace are setting a standard for other clubs to follow."