The generosity of people to people sleeping outside at Christmas and this year’s snow has been overwhelming, say homeless charities and the council. This helped to continue work to ensure every rough sleeper is offered a bed and support into safer more stable lives. with the result that on 28 February, just five were sleeping outdoors.
The Salvation Army, Changing Lives, Carecent and Peasholme and other hostels have been flooded with donations of bedding, clothing, food, toiletries and gifts which have been given to people sleeping on the streets and to those who are setting up a new home.
Knowing that many people want to help people who are homeless year-round, the hostels and charities are suggesting some ideas to help support people off the streets:
Please offer your skills:
- Volunteer with Changing Lives, Restore and Carecent or contact York CVS to offer your time and skills to help homeless people. Maybe you can cut hair or teach cookery, perhaps you could train someone in plumbing or teach guitar? Please contact the charities or York CVS at www.volunteeringyork.org.uk/, 15 Priory St, York, North Yorkshire YO1 6ET, tel: 01904 621 133
Please offer accommodation:
- Be a volunteer host for homeless young people. Call SASH on 01904 652043 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Help homeless families access accommodation. Landlords can contact YorHome on 01904 555 700 or e-mail email@example.com
- Residents could consider taking in lodgers after carefully looking at the full implications. www.lodgers.com/step-by-step-guide.html
Please offer household goods:
- Donate clean bedding, towels, toiletries and kitchen utensils to help people who are moving into accommodation. Please hand it in to Peasholme Centre, 4 Fishergate for distribution to York’s hostels.
- Donate reusable furniture to York Furniture Store on 01904 426444, which helps homeless people furnish their homes. They’ll pick up items for free. http://communityfurniturestore.co.uk/wordpress/index.php?page_id=7
- Donate food to York Foodbank tel or visit https://york.foodbank.org.uk/ or to Carecent call 01904 624244 or visit www.carecent.org.
Please offer to fundraise:
- Fundraise or donate to recognised charities working with rough sleepers and homeless people. Changing Lives, Salvation Army,
Please help rough sleepers off the street:
- Report the location of rough sleepers 24/7 to Streetlink on 0300 5000914 or www.streetlink.org.uk. Streetlink passes this information to The Salvation Army which regularly visits rough sleepers to help them into accommodation and safer, more stable lives.
- Please urge them to go to our hostels. We will do our utmost to help them off the streets and into safer, more stable lives.
Cllr Helen Douglas, executive member for housing and safer communities, said: “Rough sleeping is a year-round issue and the reasons why they are there can be complex. Giving cash direct can delay them getting the help they need but supporting our work to help them off the streets into safer and more stable lifestyles is crucial. The more help we have tailoring skills and training to each individual, the better.
“When we help people into permanent accommodation, we provide home starter packs. So we welcome donations of household cleaning products, kitchen equipment, bedding and towels, whatever the time of year.”
A Salvation Army spokesperson said: “We are grateful for the way people give time and donations throughout the year as we work to break the cycle of homelessness in York, providing a first step for people to come in off the streets.
“We seek out people sleeping on the street three times a week and daily – sometimes twice daily – in extreme weather. Everyone is vulnerable on the streets and are encouraged to accept a bed and the support we and our partners offer to address the obstacles in their lives that are preventing them from moving forward.”
Kelly Cunningham, service manager at Changing Lives, said: “We encourage everyone wishing to support people who are experiencing homelessness to donate to charities in York. This money can be used throughout the year for support including funding emergency accommodation, therapies to help people into more stable lives, training to be ready for work, to manage any future tenancy, and to support their health or any substance misuse issues.”