World Homeless Day
Our News in Brief
World Homeless Day
We need to confront the harsh realities that are resulting in people living and dying on our streets. This World Homeless Day we aim to encourage people of all backgrounds and professions to work together and help put an end to homelessness. This is the mission around which we must unite, as homelessness is now a part of all of our lives.
Many of us feel compelled to help people experiencing homelessness, but don’t always know how. Every single one of us can do something; for starters, remember that homeless people are just that – people. Treat them how you would like to be treated if you were in that situation.
In England alone, there are over 300,000 people experiencing homelessness – either sleeping rough or in temporary accommodation such as sofa-surfing or in B&Bs.
Earlier this month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the number of people dying while homeless is at an all-time high. At least 726 homeless people died in England and Wales in 2018, a 22% rise on the previous year and the biggest increase since the data has been collected. This, in one of the world’s richest nations, just shouldn’t be the case.
We hear the stories that end in people living – and dying – on the streets. Many of our residents consider themselves lucky, for having secured a place in our accommodation.
One of them is Rick, who has always lived in Newham. The London borough, where we’re based, has the highest levels of homelessness per head in the country. Rick had what many would consider a successful life; he owned a home which he shared with his wife and children, and a roofing business that was doing well. But when a few business deals went wrong, Rick fell into debt and his relationship broke down.
“I had been sleeping on the streets of Stratford for five months when I was found unconscious. If I’d been found any later, I’m sure I wouldn’t be here now. You bond with other people living on the streets, but it’s incredibly hard going. Many of the people I got to know passed away - I’m one of the lucky ones.”
After a month spent in hospital, Rick moved into Caritas Anchor House where he was supported to build his health and confidence back up. He has since moved out into a privately rented property.
“Since I moved in to Caritas Anchor House, I’ve had nothing but help and support. All they asked is that I make the most of the opportunities there. Now, for the first time in a long while, I have somewhere I can call home. I still pop in to Caritas Anchor House every now and then - it’s good to know that they are still there if I need them. I’m on the up, I’m the phoenix rising from the ashes.”
We provide a home and tailored, holistic support to hundreds of people experiencing homelessness each year. By offering opportunities to improve health and wellbeing, and access to training and employment support, residents can rebuild their lives and move on to a positive and fulfilling future. We are determined to do all we can to make sure more stories end like Rick’s, and not like that of the friends he lost on the streets.