The Newspaper Headline reads – ‘Homelessness crisis: Thousands left living in cars and tents across UK, figures reveal’.

Its gives the national figures – ‘Thousands have been left living in cars and tents as homelessness reaches a record high in the UK, a study has found. More than 170,000 individuals and families are experiencing destitution as the numbers of rough sleepers has doubled in five years, according to research for charity Crisis The majority are sofa-surfing or living in hostels, but 12,300 are sleeping rough on the streets and nearly 12,000 are sleeping in vehicles or tents, the study, carried out by Heriot-Watt University, reveals. The scale of homelessness was 13 per cent higher in 2017 compared to 2012, with an increase seen every year in between, according to the report’. (Independent Online - Eleanor Busby Sunday 23 December 2018)

We see homeless people in tents across Bassetlaw, which is a concern to all of us. This is because Hope Hostel and our move-on is accommodation could be full or they might not want to stop taking substances so they cannot stay at Hope accommodation. Hope does not want anyone freezing on the streets as the newspaper article stated that ‘official statistics released this week found that nearly 600 homeless people died in England and Wales last year, a rise of almost a quarter (24 per cent) over five years. On average they were dying at the age of 44 – a life expectancy nearly half that of people in stable housing – because of high rates of suicide, drug poisonings and alcohol-related issues’. (Independent Online - Eleanor Busby Sunday 23 December 2018)

We did a public appeal on our social media for sleeping bags and donations. – We were over whelmed with the public response of donated sleeping bags and money. We were able to buy 20 extra thick water proof sleeping bags. These are given out at the hostel to homeless people.

What is not noticed is people living in their cars, and a lot of these people are working whilst homeless.

A man who I shall call Tom came to Hope for support as he is homeless and living in his car. The hostel and move-on accommodation was full and he had a job in South Yorkshire and he said that he wants to live in that area so he can be close to his job. I gave him the telephone number and address of the council’s homelessness team. I gave him housing advice and went on Spare Room, Right Move and Zoopla website for shared housing. He then told me that he only has £40 left from his wages and will not be able to afford the rent and the bond (most shared houses ask for £150 bond in advance) until he gets paid in a weeks’ time. He had also gone through a distressing family issue the same month that he had found himself homeless. I gave him telephone numbers of agencies that may be able to offer him support.

He now found himself in the distressing situation that Hope did not have any vacancies, he only had £40 and we worked out that it would take him 2 weeks to save for a room in a shared house, so he would have to live in his car for another 14 days during winter. He was relieved when I was able to give him food, a sleeping bag, blanket and hat and gloves. Hope was able to provide this due to the generous donations by the public.

We ask that people continue to donate sleeping bags or money (we can buy the extra thick water proof sleeping bags). None of us want to see people sleeping rough or living in tents or cars, but if they are we want to be able to provide sleeping bags for them.