As temperatures plummeted this week our first response was to turn up our heating or put on extra layers, but what must it be like for what seems to be an increasing level of homeless people in our town?
Whilst some of us are happy to put our hands in our pockets or buy hot drinks for them, this is only a small glimmer of normality for these guys.
It has been reported that we saw an increase in homelessness of 15% in 2017 on the previous year and Horsham hasn’t escaped the statistic.
If you are wondering what you can do to help, the YMCA DownsLink Group (YMCA DLG) will be staging a Sleep Easy sleepout in Horsham on Friday 16 March. Volunteers are invited to give up their warm beds for one night and make a difference for young people in Horsham.It won’t be warm or comfortable, but this is an opportunity to do something remarkable for the local community.
YMCA winter sleepout that raises awareness of youth homelessness and vital funds to change the futures of young people.
Steve Darken, Head of Communities for YMCA DLG in north Sussex, said: “I’m looking forward to sleeping out to make a difference to the lives of young people. The numbers of ‘hidden homeless’ are rising, with more young people ‘sofa surfing’, staying temporarily with friends, or living in overcrowded shared accommodation. We provide safe accommodation and opportunities for young people who have been made, or are at risk of becoming homeless. Sleep Easy funds will enable us to do even more. Please sign up at www.ymcadlg.org/SleepEasy18 and help us make a difference to more local young people.”
Sleep Easy will take place once again in the grounds of Horsham YMCA Football Club, making use of the club’s facilities – but not touching the hallowed turf! This is a special opportunity to sleep under the stars in an unusual location.
A volunteer who slept out last year said: “It was a really eye opening experience. It made me think about things I hadn’t even considered before about sleeping rough. Thank you for looking after us so well. This work YMCA do is indispensable.” Another said: “It was one night that could make a difference to lots of nights for others. Great fun and nice people.”
There are many young people who, for a range of reasons, find they can no longer remain living at home. Last year, across West Surrey, East and West Sussex, YMCA DLG housed around 550 young people every night who would otherwise have been homeless. The YMCA works hard to help these young people rebuild their lives and move forward, but funding is a constant challenge. The Sleep Easy event will mean that money is available to support young people beyond the confines of statutory funding.
I will be taking part in the sleep out so feel free to donate by going to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thedistrictpost
Could you give up one night of comfort to make a lifetime of difference? Find out more and sign up at: www.ymcadlg.org/SleepEasy18