Homeless Connect provides rough sleeper items this winter
Regional charity Homeless Connect has distributed rough sleeper items to five of their member organisations who provide street outreach to people who are sleeping on the streets of Belfast and in the Northwest.
Funded by the Public Health Agency, the items include sleeping bags, gloves, hats, underwear, vests, socks and warm coats. The charities will be distributing these much-needed warm items to people who are sleeping rough.
Kathy Henry, Home Starter Pack Manager with Homeless Connect, said:
“These packs will help those who feel they have no alternative but to sleep on the streets. With the winter now upon us, and recent temperatures plummeting, people who are sleeping rough can be at risk of developing serious health conditions such as hypothermia without appropriate clothing to help them through the cold nights.”
Ms Henry continued:
“Thankfully, we do not have the same number of people sleeping rough in our towns and cities in comparison to other parts of these isles. This is down to the efforts of the charities who provide homelessness services working closely with the Housing Executive.
However, one person sleeping on the streets is still one too many. These outreach charities work closely with people who find themselves in this position and are best placed to know who needs this kind of support.”
Commenting on the situation Nicola McCrudden, Chief Executive Officer with Homeless Connect indicated that has been a recent increase in the number of people reported to be sleeping rough.
“Having literally no roof over your head is the most extreme and visible form of homelessness. It tragically remains the case that hundreds of people do sleep rough each year with all of the consequences this can have for their health and wellbeing. A firm commitment from our local elected representatives to end rough sleeping through ensuring support is available to anyone at risk would put us on a firm footing to eliminating rough sleeping here.”
Ms McCrudden added:
“I would ask people to show compassion. People who are rough sleeping often face stigma due to what they are going through. This can lead to verbal and even physical abuse. Do not rush to judge and see the human in front of you – each and every person experiencing homelessness is worthy of dignity and respect.”
If you’re concerned about someone rough sleeping help is available across NI. In Belfast call the Welcome Organisation on 07894 931047 (7am-2am) and 07851246814 (2pm-2am) In the North West call First Housing Aid and Support Services on 07540 100208. In other parts of NI call the Housing Executive on 03448 920908.