A FORMER Bolton School boy who set up an organisation to help the homeless is turning his attentions to those at risk of falling into debt during the coronavirus outbreak ­— and help charities co-ordinate their "relief effort".

Alex Greenhalgh, the managing director of People of the Streets, a social enterprise company, is using the power of social media to signpost people to the right places to get financial help rather than fall prey to high interest rate loans.

Alex, who is from Ramsbottom, said: "I also work for Amazon in business development, so I guess I was tuned in from the beginning of what the economic impacts of Covid-19 might be.

"It occurred to me very early on, as we heard a lot about the potential macroeconomic consequences of COVID-19, that people weren't talking about the impact on individuals and households.

"I can see a situation arising in the very near future where millions of people will be forced to borrow money at high interest rates or fall into debt. People might never get out of that debt.

"I live in London with astronomical rent; statutory sick pay won't cover even half of it. I fear that the most commonly felt symptoms of this virus will be financial ones. That's why we are focusing all of our efforts right now on helping people get the information they need."

Alex is using the People of the Street Twitter account to get out the information, this includes specific advice, questions to ask, and where people can find information.

He said: "To millions of people, indeed to most of the country who don't have the liquid capital to survive without income, this is of paramount importance. If you don't have a middle-class parachute on your back, you need to prepare and plan now. That involves accessing all the information available first ­— that's what we are trying to help people with.

"The message we are trying to convey is that everyone should go out and get full information. Everyone must understand their circumstances and plan accordingly. If you can help other people do the same, even better! It's important that you do it now, before Pay-Day at the end of the month ­— it might be the last full one for a while.

"We're trying to reach anyone and everyone. This affects us all. People can help themselves and each other by asking the right questions now. So they can understand their circumstances and how they can survive, without falling into financial hardship, ahead of a fall in income."

Alex, with the help of data scientists at Amazon, is trying to co-ordinate effectively and efficiently what charities and local organisations need to help the vulnerable during this outbreak.

So for example organisation forced to close their doors may have food that one charity desperately needs, and the two can be teamed up.

For information visit Twitter https://twitter.com/peopleotstreets or https://peopleofthestreets.org/