A new cashless giving option to support rough sleepers is being offered as an alternative to giving cash direct which can delay them getting help into safer lives.
Administered by Two Ridings Community Foundation, this easy scheme lets people donate by text to a fund which they can be confident will support genuinely homeless people off the streets and into safer and more stable lives by specialised charities.
The fund has been set up by the council in partnership with Two Ridings, which runs the York Disaster Fund. Proceeds will be shared among Changing Lives, The Salvation Army and Carecent.
These charities offer people sleeping rough immediate practical support, helps them into hostels, and then into longer term support. This includes supporting those with mental health or substance misuse issues, training and finding employment, finding a home and maintaining a tenancy.
A similar scheme administered by Changing Lives was launched in November 2016. Money raised was shared by the charities to pay for personalised support. This included paying for haircuts for those preparing for interviews; copies of identification so bank accounts can be opened and tenancies secured; a first months’ rent for a flat; and gym passes to support work to stop substance misuse and improve mental health.
People who wish to help are asked to give by texting the message YORK35 £ to the number 70070, indicating how much they wish to give after the £.
Nicky Gladstone of charity Carecent, said: “People in York are always very generous, and it just doesn’t feel right to walk past people who are begging on the streets.
“It can be hard to realise that giving money directly to people who beg can prolong their situation and discourage them from seeking the right help and support.
“If you see someone begging, give them a smile and say hello. Offer to buy them a coffee or a sandwich. And if you want to give money, then do consider donating by text to groups who can really make a difference.”
Please text YORK35 £3 – or whatever sum you’d like to give – to 70070.
Donations from the public will be shared between:
- Carecent, a York-based breakfast centre which provides food and clothing, support and advice
- The Salvation Army’s Early Intervention and Prevention Team in York which identifies vulnerable people on the street and, provides accommodation, health assessments and food among other services
- Changing Lives provides accommodation and support to homeless men and women in York.
As usual at Christmastime, local services continue to provide meals and support for people who experience homelessness, including donated presents to help make the day special.
Anyone who sees someone sleeping rough can ring Streetwise on 0300 500 0194, a national helpline which alerts local agencies to visit the location and offer support.