Six hundred church volunteers have worked together to take 69 rough sleepers off the streets this winter in a mammoth push to tackle homelessness in the Bradford district.
Figures were released this week from Inn Churches, the charity which equips congregations to turn their buildings into makeshift hotels giving shelter, food and clothing to rough sleepers through the coldest months.
The project now has 75 church congregations in the district donating, hosting and volunteering for the shelter that passes from one church to the next for 15 weeks.
The combined efforts housed 75 people – 69 of whom are now no longer on the streets and have either been housed, been placed in permanent accommodation or who have gone back to family and in a couple of instances gone to prison.
It comes days after it was revealed that Bradford Council’s cold weather provision had been open for more than 100 nights such was the demand for the service and the freezing temperatures.
“Inn Churches is a project that has grown and grown because people enjoy doing something practical for someone in need,” Project Manager Juli Thompson said.
“As well as providing 1,240 beds, safety and warmth for vulnerable adults, it has brought people together in Bradford, Shipley and Keighley, and that is always a great thing.”
The news comes days after Adam Clark, a project co-ordinator for Hope Housing, which provides accommodation in volunteers’ homes and helps with the cold weather provision programme, said that their service had been in the most demand ever this year, since its creation eight years ago.
Meanwhile, homeless charity Simon On The Streets has marked rough-sleeping spots across Bradford with commemorative plaques.
Positioned at sites used by rough sleepers for shelter, each vinyl sticker – styled after English heritage’s commemorative signs – is intended to help the district better appreciate the living conditions and mortality rate of those seeking refuge at locations such as Godwin Street.