Wednesday 30 January 2019

Sleeping rough in winter can kill

Stairwell

Figures from the Office of National Statistics, released in December last year, show that at least 597 homeless people in the UK died in the space of just 12 months. However, this is just an estimate. The actual figure could be much higher.

A large number of homeless people lost their lives last winter, with the death rate spiking in March 2018 (source: Bureau of Investigative Journalism) when the UK was gripped by wintry blizzards and gale force winds. In many cases, these homeless men and women lost their lives in plain sight. They were desperate to find shelter anywhere they could – in car parks, shop doorways, tents, the backs of cars – but tragically they died where they lay, having lost their battle against the cold.

It’s shameful that their deaths are going largely unnoticed.

We must bring more homeless people into the warmth of an Emmaus community – but we need your help to do it. Rough sleepers have already been struggling to survive in freezing temperatures this winter and the worst may be yet to come. By donating today, you could have a real impact and help Emmaus save lives.

Michael, a companion at Emmaus Gloucestershire, knows he wouldn’t have survived if it hadn’t been for Emmaus. He slept rough, on and off, for 20 years – the first time when he was just seven years old. Read his full story, here.

Before Michael came to Emmaus, he was struggling to survive yet another winter outside. He had no winter clothing and everything he was wearing was soaking wet. Michael hadn’t eaten any food for nearly five days and believes that if he hadn’t been welcomed in to an Emmaus community, he would have been dead by the end of that week.

Emmaus has given Michael a safe, warm home for as long as he needs, and he is beginning to rebuild his life. He works in his Emmaus community’s shops and recently completed a business course. With our ongoing help, he’d like to take courses to improve his reading and writing so that one day he can have what many of us can take for granted – permanent employment and a home of his own.

This winter Michael has helped to distribute rucksacks full of warm winter supplies to those men and women who are still forced to live on the street. But Michael knows that homeless people really need more than hats, socks, gloves and sleeping bags to survive. They need a stable place to live, the chance to work, and long-term support to help them overcome the underlying problems that led to their homelessness in the first place.

In short, they need Emmaus.

Will you send a gift today to help us bring more homeless people in from the cold?

Your donation will show vulnerable men and women that their lives matter, and that Emmaus will be there, for as long as they need us, to help them build new and better futures.

Please send what you can to help, as soon as you can. We urgently need to bring more homeless people, like Michael, into the warmth of an Emmaus community where they can recover - and thrive. Call us on 0300 303 7555 or donate here.

Thank you for your continued support and compassion. 

Alistair

Alistair's story

"It's nice to come in and see some of the old faces."

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