Wednesday, August 4News For London

Homelessness Aid: More rough sleeping people in London are expected to have a warmer Christmas

Videos played in the church showing their work in previous years | Image Source: Rui Cai

A charitable fundraising took place at Elim Full Gospel Chinese Church on Monday. According to Jerry, an organiser of this event, the purpose was to raise money to buy sleeping bags for homeless people on London streets. They intended to help rough sleeping people through the cold weather in December, and as Jerry mentioned before, “to help them enjoy a warm and peaceful Christmas.”

Organisers came to the venue earlier this morning to set up stalls for different kinds of products that were on sale. “Our church members took ready-made food from home to here, selling it at fairly cheap prices. They also brought used books, cups, jewelry, and CDs, pretty much everything,” said Jerry.

Household items on sale | Image source: Rui Cai

The prices of products on sale were reasonable and they are in good condition as well. A seller brought many vintage things from home, including an Egyptian scarf and a wooden clock. She sold her products at competitive prices with each item cost no more than £5, which sold out quickly.

Homemade food attracted the largest number of young people and they seemed to enjoy it a lot. Minghao, 27, from Singapore, liked sushi and cheesecake the most. He said: “I like the food, I feel warm, because everyone is contributing, either buying food or making food, or even put stuff out for sale. This could help many homeless people because the money raised will go to those who are not able to afford anything, I really appreciate it,” Minghao added.

Jerry, the organiser, shared that they host this event every year before Christmas. He said: “Last year, we spent more than £800 to buy socks, thermals and sleeping bags for homeless people and we helped around 20 people. This year, we aim to help more. ”

The number of rough sleeping people in England has increased in recent years. A study shows the capital has the worst homelessness situation across the nation, with more than 4,000 people sleeping rough on London streets from July to September this year. As Christmas is approaching, more young people are facing homelessness. More than 22,000 young people could be homeless or at risk of being made homeless in England this Christmas, according to a Centrepoint study.

A survey suggested that the figure may be underestimated, with different kinds of  “hidden homelessness” emerging. A third of young people used to spend nights in parks, tents and even buses. Almost three-quarters of them had to do couch surfing for days because they had no place to go, the survey found.

There are a large number of charities across the UK, working at a local or national level to fight homelessness during Christmas. They provide help and advice for people who sleep on the streets, offering them temporary accommodations with enough facilities to guarantee them a warm and comfortable winter.