As temperatures plummet, the funds raised through Norfolk Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter appeal are critical to the health and wellbeing of our county’s most vulnerable residents.
The Surviving Winter appeal aims to tackle winter poverty and isolation in Norfolk by providing essential support to some of the most vulnerable through to spring. The aim of the appeal is to reach people who are currently on the edge of formal support but are in serious need. Without urgent help, these people could easily fall into crisis and, for some, the support of charities such as St Martins could be the difference between life and death.
Respite accommodation for homeless and rough sleepers
St Martins provides housing, support and care to some of the most vulnerable in our society. Although the team work incredibly hard to find accommodation for everyone who finds themselves homeless, the sad reality is that there is often insufficient accommodation available. Funds raised from the Surviving Winter appeal have enabled us to provide emergency respite accommodation in local hotels and Bed and Breakfasts. This provides a ‘street break’; it can literally help to keep people alive in severe cold weather, but it also can give rough sleepers some essential respite from the harsh reality of their daily lives on the streets.
To date St Martins has supported 12 people through the ‘street break’ initiative, with seven of these people being entrenched rough sleepers. Seven people who were supported by this initiative have now gone on to more permanent and secure housing. This is an incredible outcome of which we are immensely proud.
Some of the people who have been helped with a Street Break:
- A couple were sleeping rough in Norwich city centre. He had housing but she did not, and he was at risk of losing his accommodation if he did not use it. She did not have a bed in accommodation and faced another night on the streets. St Martins Housing put her up in a B&B for three nights until she could secure a bed, and he returned to his accommodation knowing that his girlfriend was safe.
- Hannah, 22, had been asked to leave an overcrowded housing situation with her family and had been sleeping rough in Norwich. Due to disability, it was difficult to find emergency accommodation so she was placed in a B&B for the weekend until alternative arrangements could be made.
- Donna, 42, had recently arrived in Norwich having left a rehabilitation programme. She had nowhere to go and faced rough sleeping. She wanted to return to the rehab facility and was making arrangements to do so. Donna was placed in B&B accommodation overnight to prevent her rough sleeping, and she has since returned to her place in rehab.
St Martins CEO Dr Jan Sheldon said, “Rough sleeping is dangerous and unpredictable. As temperatures plummet there is a significant risk of hypothermia. This funding could save lives. It means we can offer people a safe and comfortable place to go where they can enjoy the things that most of us take for granted on a daily basis.”