Thursday, June 20News For London

The World’s Big Sleep Out: People hope that the fund raised by the event can really benefit the homeless

London participants settling in for the World’s Big Sleep Out at Trafalgar Square. Photograph: PA   

In London’s windy and freezing winter night in December, it is hard to imagine sleeping outside, as many homelessness people did.

People from more than 50 countries slept outside in Trafalgar Square on Saturday night as part of “The World’s Big Sleep Out” to raise funds and awareness for homelessness.

“It seems absolutely bloody crackers right now – the rain is so heavy – but we’re doing it because basically the world has a homelessness problem, it has a displaced people problem, it has refugees.” Dame Louise Casey, a former head of the government rough sleepers’ unit and trustee of the Big Sleep Out, who told the BBC she hoped the event would be “symbolic”.

“I would like to be part of it because this is very important. It is a problem to see that our life is getting better and I think that means we need to change the homelessness status.” People who joined the event said.

This event also won support from celebrities. Participants enjoy bedtime story read by Dame Helen Mirren and musical performances from singers including Jake Bugg, Tom Walker, Rag’n’Bone Man and Travis in Trafalgar Square.

The World’s Big Sleep Out campaign was founded by Josh Littlejohn who is also the co-founder of a charity called Social Bite in Scotland. The campaign cooperated with the Institute for Global Homelessness(IGH), UNICEF USA and several other organizations. Their goal is to raise a minimum of $50,000,000 for homelessness in their city and spread help throughout the world.

50% of the fund will support the local organizations, like ThamesReach, Depaul. Another half will be organized to support people displaced throughout the world.

They have also previously organized the World’s largest ever Sleep Out in Edinburgh – Sleep in the Park. This event has raised over $10,000,000 in two years to tackle homelessness in Scotland.

“I think this is good. But they need to search out what the homeless people really want and use the fund properly. I know most of them in this area leave their own homes because of their health problem, so what they want first is the money to cure themselves in the hospital rather than a place to live.” Samir, the cleaner of Trafalgar Square who worked at the Sleep Out night said.

There are many homeless people near the National Museum. Photograph: Jiana Zhou

A stall owner in the Trafalgar Square Christmas Market gave her opinion that she was not sure about whether the homeless would benefit from this event.

“I think they can invite some homeless people to join them. Before the money eventually goes towards their hand, they could give hope and warmth to them directly.” The owner said.