Statistics released today show the number of people sleeping rough in Birmingham rose by 60% last year – a tenfold rise since 2010.
These figures come just a day after a homeless man, Kane Walker, died on the streets of Birmingham.
West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, who made a commitment to tackle homelessness in Birmingham, has said that the scale of the problem is bigger than he anticipated and it is difficult to turn the figures around.
Christy Acton, Deputy Community Projects Manager at Father Hudson’s Care, spoke about Tabor House, which supports people experiencing homelessness to make a fresh start. Since opening in September 2017, Tabor House has supported ten people to move into their own accommodation. Yet more people have been supported to move back in with families or shared living arrangements. Volunteers at Tabor House assist guests with finding training, managing debt, building their employment skills – whatever they need to turn their lives around.
Christy said, “The rise in homelessness is disappointing. We can see on the streets of Birmingham that the issue is getting worse. Tabor House is here 365 nights a year, and we’re trying to help people for the long-term. Some guests stay for three or four months, and during that time we work with them to give them every chance to move on. This may be into their own accommodation, or into work – we give them time and space to take steps forward.
“People can find themselves on the street very quickly. You can lose your job, a relationship might end – there are a whole range of complex issues. You end up with no choice but to sleep on the streets. But there’s a lot of good work going on in the city to try and help. Ideally we want to catch someone before they have that first night or those first few days. Once someone has had a few weeks or months on the streets, it’s a much harder situation to deal with.”
How to help
Volunteer: Tabor House relies on its large team of volunteers. Hospitality volunteers provide guests with a warm and friendly welcome as they adjust to the shelter. Volunteer mentors assist guests in accessing the support they need to move forward.
Fundraise: A donation of £20 enables Tabor House to provide dinner, breakfast, shower, laundry and one bed for one night, along with support to move on. Donate via JustGiving at bit.ly/SupportTaborHouse.
Donate goods: Donations of toiletries, food, clothes and bedding are always welcome.
For more information about becoming a volunteer or making a donation to Tabor House, contact Christy Acton on 01675 434000 or visit www.fatherhudsons.org.uk.