Homelessness rose faster than ever in 2020. Here’s what we did about it.
Phew, I’m glad the year that was 2020 is now history – and I’m sure you are too!
It really was tough for all of us. But as horrible as it was for us, it has been devastatingly brutal for many:
– Those without a home, living rough on the streets
– Those unable to pay rent, forced out of a home due to loss of work or low wages
– Victims of domestic violence and aggression locked-down with a volatile partner
– And the children of these vulnerable families, living in unfit and insecure accommodation with no options for a better, more stable life.
As a charity, we were unable to do what we do best – hold the many outdoor events that would raise much needed funds to support these people, and the charities working at the front line of homelessness – those doing the vital work of delivering outreach, support and comfort to people forced to sleep rough, sheltering and counselling victims of violence, housing the vulnerable, and helping people get back on their feet after tough times.
Our work is to support charities that help families facing real destitution and forced to rely on foodbanks. According to a recent report by The Trussell Trust, six emergency food parcels are going to people in need every minute this winter. We were desperate to help.
The Government’s funding for “EveryoneIn” was a success when it came to rapidly finding accommodation for some 15,000 rough sleepers during the first lockdown. But the truth is that more people than ever have been forced to sleep rough as a result of the pandemic, with figures from Streetlink showing that reports of rough sleeping rose sharply (by 36%) in April-June 2020 compared with the previous year.
We couldn’t sit by and let lockdown prevent us from our mission – we had to act!
Hearing about the many individual tragedies first-hand from the many charity beneficiaries we work with motivated us to innovate. We held two virtual sleepouts, where people like you could spend a night on the floor inside our outside your home, and raise funds via sponsorship. We joined everyone together via Zoom, and both events were full of high spirits and people wanting to do something positive for others.
The Nationwide Stay at Home Sleepout and the Big Xmas Sleepout attracted some 400 people between them. Each participant was challenged to raise just £100 for their night out in the cold. The funds raised enabled us to give a much-needed boost to a wide range of charity beneficiaries, right across the country.
Looking forward to the year ahead – there’s still uncertainty but we’re hopeful that with the rollout of the vaccine, we’ll be back to holding CEO Sleepout events across the UK in a few months’ time. We love the spirit and camaraderie shown by our business leaders, all wanting to make a difference.
To each and every one of you who took part in one of our events last year, and to anyone who did something to help others, we salute you! You really are brilliant.
Stay tuned for announcements on event dates and how you can get involved.
Thanks for reading,