Help us end rough sleeping
Rough sleeping is extremely dangerous, traumatising, and even life threatening. The longer someone sleeps rough, the more complex their support needs become. The exposure often leads rough sleepers to develop alcohol and drug dependencies, as well as physical and mental health problems requiring a long, expensive, and painful recovery.
Rough sleeping is currently increasing throughout London. In 2013-2014, 301 rough sleepers slept on the streets in Brent (North West London). During this year, Brent has had the second largest increase in rough sleeping in London over the year. However, Brent has no emergency accommodation to help move these rough sleepers off the streets.
The incredible increase in street homelessness in Brent demands immediate action.
How Ashford Place Helps Rough Sleepers
Ashford Place is a charity that supports homeless individuals in Brent into housing, employment, education, as well as health care. Ashford Place responds immediately to all reports of rough sleeping in Brent, engaging in outreach work on the streets every night from midnight until 6:00 in the morning. We support these rough sleepers by inviting them to visit the centre, providing them with food, clothing, showers, counselling, job training, and other services. However, there is one essential service that we are currently unable to provide rough sleepers: a bed for the night. Sadly, we have to tell them to return to the street. But even if we could provide them a bed for the night, what about a bed for tomorrow night, and the next night? For this reason, we need an all year round Night Shelter. A Night Shelter is essential for rough sleepers, as it is the first step on their path out of sleeping on the streets and into independent living.
During the months of November to April, Ashford Place was able to provide rough sleepers with accommodation in the Winter Night Shelter. These rough sleepers were booked into the shelter on the very same night that they were found on the street. The Shelter was a warm and supportive environment where they could feel safe. The comfort and reassurance of having a safe place to sleep at night - something that most of us take for granted - made a hugely positive impact on the lives of rough sleepers. These individuals were able to access our services at Ashford Place during the day, where they would look for work, long-term accommodation, and socialise with others who were in the same situation.
Since the Winter Night Shelter closed on 14 April 2014, we no longer have direct access to accommodation for rough sleepers. This presents a large problem as we at Ashford Place strive to provide support for rough sleepers and move them into accommodation.
The figure below shows how our Winter Night Shelter changed lives during the cold winter months by ensuring that rough sleepers immediately get off the streets.
"Being homeless was like entering another world. It is one thing to experience the sensation of sleeping on the street, but it is another to experience the fact that you actually have no place to live, and how totally alone you are. Being able to access the shelter took away the realities of having to sleep out, of course, but it most importantly made me feel less alone. Being with other people who experienced what I had gone through was a great help, and being cared for by volunteers who actually cared about providing a good service for me was immensely helpful."
- M.E. - 24 years old
Our Goal: Provide Shelter for 25 Rough Sleepers
Based on the current amount of rough sleepers in Brent and the length of time it takes to move rough sleepers into permanent accommodation:
We need to create an all year round Night Shelter for up to 25 people, providing immediate, much needed accommodation to some of the most vulnerable individuals in Brent.
This Shelter should provide rapid access to important services—health, housing, social care, training, and employment—ensuring that homelessness is as brief as possible, and as painless an experience as possible.
Rough Sleepers Need You
To achieve our goal of accommodating 25 rough sleepers in Brent, we need to fundraise at least £20,000. Our team has been working our hardest to raise these funds and to spread the word about our message, but much more still needs to be done to significantly change the dire circumstances of rough sleepers in this diverse London borough.
These funds will go toward providing a variety of essential services for rough sleepers to help get them off the streets.
There are many ways that you can help us with our cause and create positive social change for rough sleepers, for the Brent community in Northwest London, and for the city of London as a whole.
Help us spread the word about our cause. Please tell your friends, your family, colleagues, or anyone else who you think can contribute to this important initiative. A short tweet, a Facebook status, or simply sharing our Crowdfunding page can make a huge difference and can go a long way in supporting our cause!
We would also be very grateful for any donation that you are able to provide. We promise that your money will go directly toward getting rough sleepers off the streets and into a Shelter. Your much-needed contributions will help us ensure that rough sleepers do not remain on the streets.