World Homeless Day: Two charities making a difference

Ahead of tomorrow’s World Homeless Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate two charities who are providing vital support to people impacted by homelessness.

Centrepoint – helping homeless young people get back on their feet

Centrepoint is an extraordinary charity supporting more than 14,000 homeless young people across England every year. They provide safe places to stay for 16-25 year olds in London, Manchester, Sunderland, Bradford and Barnsley. They support young people to overcome the significant mental and physical impacts of homelessness, providing key services including psychotherapy, nutrition education and guidance on healthy relationships. And they also provide education opportunities to help young people prepare for their future.

I’m extremely proud to be a Trustee of Centrepoint. When I first came into contact with the charity I was immediately drawn to their holistic approach to working with young people. They really do consider all aspects of the support that a young person might need – everything from medical support to life skills training.

Their work is needed now more than ever: this pandemic has exposed the vast inequalities across our society and it has exacerbated the problems faced by many young people who are homeless or in precarious living situations.

Calls to Centrepoint’s own helpline increased by 50% at the start of the pandemic as many more young people got in touch about family and relationship breakdown. And the charity’s recent Locked Out report found that more than three quarters of councils have reported an increase in homelessness since the start of the pandemic.

Many homeless young people sleep rough, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands more are the ‘hidden homeless’, sleeping on sofas, floors or even night buses without a safe place to call home. So the work of Centrepoint teams really is a lifeline to young people in need.

999 Club are looking out for Lewisham’s homeless

Lewisham’s 999 Club supports homeless people in south east London.

They run the Gateway Centre, a day centre in Deptford supporting people who are sleeping rough or need housing advice. It’s a safe space for people to eat, do laundry, use computers or speak to someone about housing. Having temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 crisis, the day centre is set to reopen this month so it can continue to provide vital services to local people.

The closure of the Gateway Centre and the charity’s night shelter has not stopped the 999 Club team working tirelessly to look after vulnerable people in Lewisham. They support 100 rough sleepers daily and throughout the pandemic have provided support over the phone, socially distanced visits and arranged food vouchers and IT equipment.

I’m delighted that Goldsmiths has a strong partnership with the 999 Club. Goldsmiths students have taken part in volunteering and placements with the charity, and through a recent memorandum of understanding (MOU) we’ve formalised our commitment to working together. This means even more collaboration between our two organisations in the coming years.

Can you help?

Coping with homelessness is incredibly isolating, with long-term impacts for both physical and mental health. Charities like Centrepoint and 999 Club are doing such important work to support people of all ages who are dealing with homelessness. If you can support either of these charities, please do.

Find out more about Centrepoint
Their recent Stay:UP event encouraged supporters to stay up all night for homeless young people. They have raised £100,000 so far – it’s not too late to donate.

Find out more about the 999 Club
The 999 Club are looking for 999 new supporters to give either a one-off donation or sign up to regular giving to help them improve the lives of people in need. Find out more here.