‘Breakfast in a bag’ is a brilliant new simple initiative to support the homeless

‘Breakfast in a bag’ is a brilliant new simple initiative to support the homeless

A small gesture is all it takes to make a huge difference to the thousands of people sleeping rough everyday.  And that’s why one woman is asking you to donate just £3 so that a homeless person won’t go hungry tomorrow.

In a new initiative called ‘Breakfast in a Bag’, Michelle Clark, from Enfield, is handing out free, healthy breakfasts to London’s homeless.

Michelle told Metro.co.uk:

It dawned on me earlier this year that despite there being several soup kitchens feeding London’s homeless in the evenings, no one was providing breakfasts.

breakfast-in-a-bag-1For just £3, a homeless person will receive cereal or porridge, milk, fresh fruit, a cereal bar or similar, fruit juice and biscuits, together with disposable cutlery and a bowl.

According to figures released by Combined Homelessness Information Network (CHAIN), over 7,500 people slept on London’s streets in 2015.  This was a dramatic rise from the 3,673 in 2009/2010.

The simple but effective idea was started by Michelle earlier this month, but she’s actually been supporting the homeless and dogs living on the streets in London since 2010 with Off The Streets London.

She added:

‘I’ve helped several homeless people find permanent housing and I still keep in touch with most of them today.  I consider them to be my friends.’

The project is currently being funded by public donations with additional support from food manufacturers and supermarkets.

breakfast-in-a-bag

At the moment, Michelle delivers most of the bags direct to the homeless herself but she does have a small team of volunteers who help host the popular Breakfast In A Bag ‘Brekkie Stations’ on Friday nights.

The projects has already got huge support on social media, where @breakfastinabag has more than 2,900 followers.  Amongst its supporters are comedians Al Murray and Reginald D Hunter, Ian Danter from national radio, actress Linda Robson, Labour MP Jess Phillips and BBC’s Nick Knowles.

Michelle said:

‘We rely heavily on donations, every pound buys a pot of porridge for someone or a couple of energy bars.

‘Quite simply the more donations we receive, however small, the more breakfasts I can hand over.

‘People are realising that by donating just £3 to us they’re buying a homeless person a healthy breakfast, all for the same price as a coffee and for much less than a pint!’

If you’d like to donate to Breakfast in a Bag, email: breakfastinabag@gmail.com.

Use McDonald’s monopoly tokens to help the homeless

mcdonalds-monopoly

If you’re a keen visitor to McDonald’s, you’ll know about its recurring Monopoly promotion that runs in a number of countries across the globe. You’ll often get a free food voucher for a portion of fries or a McFlurry, but while you might be tempted to hoard them for future binges, perhaps donating them to the homeless is a better way of using them.

That’s what Matt Lawson from Melbourne in Australia proposed in a Facebook post on Monday:

matt-lawson-photography

McDonald’s is currently running the monopoly game and I’ve got an idea. If you win free food by purchasing food you would of bought anyway, why not put your tokens in a jar and take them to an area where you know there are people less fortunate then yourself (Melbourne CBD, Fitzroy shelters etc).i did it today and if all of us do it together we can be part of a small change. FEEL FREE TO SHARE. #bethechange#monopolisecharity

“Why not put your tokens in a jar and take them to an area where you know there are people less fortunate then [sic] yourself,” he wrote. “I did it today and if all of us do it together we can be part of a small change.”

“I know it’s still consuming junk food, but it can teach our kids and ourselves a lesson in giving with no taking,” he said in a comment on the viral post.

What a simple idea to make a small difference in your community.

 

Footballers tell squatters to stay in their Manchester hotel for the winter

Manchester Stock Exchange

A group of squatters and homeless activists that took over a huge hotel undergoing renovation have been told they’re allowed to stay for the winter – by the hotel’s owners.

Manchester Angels gained access to the building, which is due to open as a luxury boutique hotel, on Sunday. The group assumed they’d be swiftly moved on, but were told by former Manchester United captain Gary Neville, one of the properties owners along with Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs, they could stay.

Now the Grade II-listed former stock exchange on central Manchester’s Norfolk Street will become a home and welcoming hub for many of the city’s homeless.

Housing activist Wesley Hall, 33, said he broke down and cried after Neville told him the group could stay for a few months. “I’m crying,” he wrote on the group’s Facebook page. “Just go off the phone to Gary Neville. He’s letting us stay for a few months over the winter period and he’s gonna help us with intervention. I’m shaking here.”

Manchester Angels 1

The imposing former stock exchange was bought by Neville and Giggs two years ago for £1.5 million ($2.3 million). The pair gained permission to turn it into a 35-bed hotel complete with basement gym, spa, bar, restaurant and even a rooftop private members’ terrace.

Before that, though, it will be a sanctuary for homeless people. It’s been renamed the Sock Exchange and will provide somewhere to sleep, hot food, clothing, health checkups, advice on benefits and help with securing long term accommodation. There’s a hashtag, #OpSafeWinter, to coordinate the work. The group say they’re “in talks with a household name chef” to help with a Christmas meal.

“We are going to do everything properly,” Hall said of the project.

“We have already drawn up rotas for cooking, cleaning and staffing the gate. Everyone will be able to have their own room and each person will be able to lock their bedroom door.”

“We were expecting that as soon as Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville found out that we had occupied the building, they would try to get us evicted and that we would have to look for another building. Having a few months during the winter to work with homeless people without the threat of eviction hanging over our heads is brilliant.”

According to Hall, Neville just asked that the temporary residents allow surveyors to access the building as work continues on its renovation. Hall said he has promised to leave the building in as good a state as he found it, if not better.

Youth homelessness in the UK

Homeless Person

A new study on Youth Homelessness in the UK has been published.  The study focuses on identifying priorities for future service development.

This study reviews changes in youth homelessness policy and practice across the UK since 2008. It draws on academic research, “grey literature”, and available data and statistics, combined with qualitative interviews and focus groups with 26 youth homelessness experts from the four UK nations. The review aims to identify key gaps in provision and practical models that offer the most effective responses to youth homelessness.

The report highlights a number of positive developments over the last seven years:

  • improving responses to homeless 16/17 year olds;
  • the extension of the rehousing duty to virtually all homeless people (rather than only ‘priority’ groups) and a stronger emphasis on homelessness prevention in Scotland;
  • the introduction of a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent homelessness in Wales;
  • the extension of local authority duties to support young people in care; and
  • investment in the development of accommodation options for young homeless people in England.

 

Gaps in services

Drawing on consultation with 26 youth homelessness experts across the UK, the review identifies a number of areas in which service provision can be strengthened and developed:

  • PreventionDespite the mainstreaming of preventative ‘housing options’ approaches across Great Britain, the availability, uptake and effectiveness of mediation services could be improved, with a particular gap identified in the provision whole-family interventions and support and access to respiteor time-out emergency accommodation options while such family support and mediation is put in place.
  • Accommodation optionsYouth homelessness organisations face a major challenge in providing good quality accommodation that is genuinely affordable to young people both in work (often on low wages) and out of work (often with limited entitlements to welfare support). There is a particular gap in accommodation provision for young homeless people with complex needs who require high levels of support, with high quality, small-scale supported accommodation projectsSupported Lodgings; and the ‘Housing First’ model seen to offer promising solutions for this group. Psychologically informed environments –designed to take into account the psychological and emotional needs of service users – are now seen as crucial in the youth homelessness sector given that a higher proportion of young people using services have complex needs. For young people with low support needs, the development of long-term accommodation options that are affordable for individuals on a low income are required. Such provision might include: ‘light touch’ supported accommodationPeer Landlord and other shared accommodation models; design and build options that minimise costs and rent-levels; repurposing of former student accommodation; and refurbishment of empty properties.
  • EmploymentThere are calls for the better alignment of youth homelessness and youth employment services, to improve the employability and prospects of young people experiencing homelessness. Means of improving the employment offer for this group include: improving (formerly) homeless young people’s employability and work readiness through training and skills programmes and work experience; engaging and supporting employers to enable them to offer employment opportunities to young people who have experienced homelessness; and encouraging employment and earnings progression for homeless/formerly homeless young people through in-work support.
  • Social networksSupporting young people who have experienced homelessness to develop positive social networks is seen as an important means to support resettlement, improve young people’s wellbeing, and reduce the risk of repeat homelessness. Developing ‘social networks approaches’ to youth homelessness provision that help young people develop informal connections in the local community both during and after homelessness, including through mentoring schemes, were seen as important areas for development.

 

The full report can be accessed here.

A briefing summarising the report’s key findings can be accessed here.

Youth homelessness figure eight times higher than Government admits

homelessness-getty

The full extent of youth homelessness is more than eight times higher than the Government admits, according to a new report.

At least 30,000 young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness are turned away from local authorities each year.  Figures from homelessness charity Centrepoint suggest at least 136,000 16-24 year-olds have asked for help in the past year but only 106,000 got it.

The report is based on 146 responses from a Freedom of Information request in England and Wales and suggests councils are unable to cope with the volume of young people in need of support.

Homelessness

Some 136,000 young people aged between 16 and 24 in England and Wales sought emergency housing in the past year. The figure is based on an analysis by the Centrepoint charity of 275 Freedom of Information responses from local authorities. In stark contrast, only 16,000 young people were officially classed as “statutory homeless” – which would mean councils had a legal duty to house them – according to the report.

Worryingly, some 30,000 of those seeking help were turned away with little if any support. And as many as 90,000 were only offered support such as family mediation, to help them stay at home, or debt advice. This means the vast majority of those going for help are not getting the full assistance they’d be entitled to if they were officially accepted as being homeless.

Last year only 40% of young people asking for support were given an assessment to find out if they were eligible for emergency housing.

Centrepoint say without assessments in all cases, some of the most vulnerable people could miss out on immediate housing support to which they are legally entitled, leaving them at risk.  The charity’s FOI does say that local authorities are not required to record the number of people asking them for help meaning the true number could well be higher.  They also say official statistics from the government on homelessness only show “part of the picture”.

These estimated figures were compiled by homelessness charity, Centrepoint.
These estimated figures were compiled by homelessness charity, Centrepoint.

 

Centrepoint say:

“A lack of coherent national data makes measuring the true scale of youth homelessness very challenging.  Figures compiled by the Department of Communities and local government and by devolved authorities show that there were 26,852 statutory homeless young people across the UK in 2013-14.”

The government has dismissed the report.  A Government spokesman said:

“Centrepoint’s analysis is misleading and based on anecdotal evidence.  Official figures show homelessness acceptances among young people in England is 13,490 which is less than half what it was in 2005.  We have made over £1bn available since 2010, to prevent and tackle homelessness and support vulnerable households.”

BBC Newsbeat have produced a detailed report which is worth taking the time to watch:

[youtube id=”I2cDZ_h6YrA” width=”580″ height=”337″]

Single men account for 75% of homelessness in the UK

Watching How to get a Council House on Channel 4 is tough.  When you hear statistics such as: “Single men account for 75% of homelessness in the UK and on average rough sleepers don’t survive above the age of 47” it breaks your heart.

More than three times as many homeless young people a year are estimated to be relying on charities and councils for a roof over their heads across the UK than officially recorded by the government, according to new research by the University of Cambridge, commissioned by the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint.

CentrePoint homeless stats

An estimated that 83,000 homeless 16-24 year-olds relied on the support of councils and charities in the UK in 2013-14, the last complete year of available data, compared to just 26,852 recorded by statutory homelessness figures compiled by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and authorities in the devolved nations.

New Forest Nightstop needs your help

Homeless - New Forest Nightstop

New Forest Nightstop is the only provider of emergency accommodation for young people aged 16 to 24, who find themselves homeless in the New Forest. There is no other emergency provision; hostels or shelters available in the area, so it is all done through the homes of trained and approved volunteers.

As this area is mainly affluent with a very rural spread, homelessness, as people understand it, goes very much unnoticed. Young people helped by Nightstop are not street-hardened rough sleepers people typically think of in regards to homelessness, but everyday teenagers, suffering a crisis, and in need of help and protection.

New Forest Nightstop quote

 

A team of 26 volunteers Nightstop provide free emergency over – night accommodation, meals, laundry, baths, travel costs, toiletries, start-up furniture, food parcel referrals, startup home energy costs, practical support with benefit claims, housing forms and the progres – sion of their housing case through housing panels, with a multi-agency approach to the best outcomes pos – sible, with the means it has. However, a Nightstop hosts offers much more to a young person; a listening ear, a sense of belonging and trust, a future, protection from rape, drugs, abuse, increased employability, offering security to not only the young person but their education; 69% of young people who stayed in the last year were in education, training or employment.

New Forest Nightstop has just entered its 12th year and has provided over 2,000 nights of safety to vul – nerable young people from local communities. At the moment, there are not enough hosts, particularly in the Hythe and Dibden area, for the number of young people needing help. If you feel you can help then telephone 01425 478391 or email nightstopsupport@cfnf.org.uk

 

New Forest Nightstop

New Forest Nightstop

I received this recent mailing about New Forest Nightstop:

New Forest Nightstop is the only provider of emergency accommodation in the New Forest for young people age 16-24, who find themselves suffering homelessness and this is all done through the homes of trained and approved volunteers.  There is absolutely no other emergency provision; hostels or shelters, in the New Forest.  The first thing people usually say to me is ‘Are there really people homeless in the New Forest?’  Unfortunately, this is a reality that people are very much unaware of.  The forest is mainly an affluent area with a very rural spread.  This means that homelessness, as people usually understand it, goes very much unnoticed.  The young people we help are not the street-hardened rough sleepers people typically think of in regards to homelessness but everyday teenagers, suffering a crisis, in need of help and protection.

Through our team of 26 volunteers Nightstop provides free emergency overnight accommodation, meals, laundry, baths, travel costs, toiletries, start-up furniture, food parcel referrals, start-up home energy costs, practical support with benefit claims, housing forms and the progression of their housing case through housing panels, with a multi-agency approach to the best outcomes with the means we have.  But Nightstop hosts offers much more than this to a young person; a listening ear, a sense of belonging and trust, a future, protection from rape, drugs, abuse, increased employability, offering security to not only the young person but their education; 69% of young people who stayed in the last year were in education, training or employment.

New Forest Nightstop has just entered its 12th year and in that time we have provided over 2000 nights of safety to vulnerable young people from our local communities.  Our aim is to save them from reaching the streets and becoming victims there.  We are hard at work trying to bring an awareness of Nightstop and the tragedies it prevents to the communities around us.

But the reality is that, at the moment, we do not have enough hosts, particularly in the Hythe and Dibden area, for the number of young people needing help.

Please follow the link below to visit our website for a real insight into our work and activities.  You can read stories from the young people that have been supported by Nightstop, experiences of our volunteers and even watch our short film about homelessness in the New Forest.

I hope you have found this of interest and I look forward to hearing from you if you feel you can help us in any way.

Catriona Duncan
Nightstop Support Worker
Community First New Forest
Tel: 01425 478391

Email: Nightstopsupport@cfnf.org.uk

Web: www.newforestnightstop.org.uk