Homelessness in Lincoln has almost tripled – with nearly 150 more people sleeping rough compared to last year. According to figures from Lincolnshire County Homelessness Strategy, ran by City of Lincoln Council, Lincoln city centre has the highest rates of homelessness in the county. The nights are drawing in and homeless people are getting colder, risking freezing temperatures whilst out on the streets. But what can we, the public, do?
HOPE, a Lincoln based charity has started a campaign, bringing businesses in Lincoln’s High Street together to receive donations for their charity. Lincoln’s branch of Nationwide on the High Street have started taking donations for the charity in store. Books, clothes and toys have been placed in a ‘drop off point’, which is a trolley tucked away in the corner of the bank, where members of the public can donate what they have to give. On the windows of Nationwide, the posters say “HOPE believe that through showing compassion and kindness, they are spreading the contagion of HOPE which is at the heart of any recovery.”
This campaign has also popped up in Tesco Express on the High Street, where people can drop off their donations. They are still asking for donations of socks, underwear and household items such as wet wipes, kitchen roll and coffee. But the collection isn’t the only way that HOPE are helping the homeless. A group of volunteers go out at night, giving care packages to the homeless. Equipped with a custom made wagon and boxes full of hot food, hot drinks, books and warm clothes as they generously give up their time to help those in need. On HOPE’s Facebook page, they help tell the public of the struggle during winter months, saying that homeless outreach groups are sometimes seen as “enabling lifestyle choices, and fostering anti-social behaviour” but reminding the public that temperatures are dropping sharply, so “spare a thought for those that are sleeping out in this cold weather.”
Compassionate Lincoln, the creator of The Warm Rail, a clothing rail providing coats and warm clothing for those who cannot afford them, has made a reappearance since being vandalised last year, and is thriving more than ever since popping back up in mid-October. The rail has been put outside the Nomad Charity Shop near Waterside South.
Rosemary McFadden, a volunteer at the charity shop said “We’re hosting the warm rail, which is put
up by Compassionate Lincoln, who asked if they can use our space. We’ve had a bit of attention from BBC Radio Lincolnshire, and since then we’ve been absolutely inundated, but people have been really really generous with
coats and clothes, the attention has been great.”
Although it’s clear that Lincoln’s charities are making an effort to help, homelessness is still an ongoing crisis around the UK. Is it enough to help out on weekends or should more time and attention be paid to helping the homeless?