Wednesday, 31 January 2018 11:41

Helping the Homeless

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Helping the Homeless

In last months newsletter we commented on the left over food from our Christmas party and how it was shared with homeless people on the streets of the city by several volunteer members who toured the city seeking them out. (And no, there have been no complaints about bearded landlords turning up in the middle of the night and waking people up, which shows all of our members abide by our code of conduct! :-) )

Subsequently there have been discussions about what to do with the monies raised from the raffle at that event, as in previous years some people have questioned how much the homeless benefited from our donations to charities active in this area.  Our objective was to ensure that the money was 'well spent' and directly benefited those who most need it. One of our issues is that we lack the expertise to do something ourselves, but as a result we gained some interesting guidance...

  • Giving anything new to some of these individuals will only end up being sold to feed their habits.
  • Few actually need sleeping bags.
  • Street sleepers cannot take bedding with them when they use the Winter Bed Scheme (Hence the neat piles of bedding we saw down Guilhall Walk when we our food run)
  • Some of the apparent homeless have homes but sleep out to to guard their street collection territory as they are making hundreds of pounds. 
  • The Society of St James (SSJ) are buying and renting houses for the homeless and can often offer an alternative to the hostel environment that is frequently rejected by the homeless. 

It is clear we do not have the expertise to ensure members donations get used most effectively unless we rely on a 3rd party.

We had thought Two Saints could use it but they are doing less in Portsmouth these days, we have supported them before and PCC have now commissioned The Society of St James to provide their housing and substance misuse services and having talked to both those at an operational level and management  we are sure they would use all our money to directly easy the plight of local homeless people. 

As a result, we have donated the proceeds of the Christmas raffle to the Society of St James and they have assured us that 100% of it will be used to buy food for those who need it. We will also be asking them to update us on the homeless situation at one of our meetings later this year.

End Notes

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