Finding shelter is one of the many challenges facing homeless people, but West Norfolk church leaders and charities are aiming to do their bit to help out.
King’s Lynn Churches Together, Imagine Norfolk Together and the Purfleet Trust are planning to introduce a night shelter to protect rough sleepers in the cold months.
Opening two-night a week from December until March, the three organisations are aiming to provide a warm and safe place for homeless people to get some shut-eye.
Chairman of management steering group, Kevan Crane, who is helping to organise the night shelter, said: “We aim to provide a safe, warm place overnight for those who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets or in unsafe accommodation. We aim to take in those that come to us, as long as it is safe to do so.”
The management steering group has successfully applied for grant funding, enabling them to open applications for a night shelter coordinator to work 16-hours a week.
He added: “We are most encouraged by the number of people that have shown an interest in volunteering for the project already, and we are excited to see the vision for the project becoming a reality.”
Peter Coates of King’s Lynn Churches Together said: “Currently, there are increasing numbers of homeless people in Lynn and nationally. Homelessness has a huge impact on a person’s life and the average age of death for a homeless person is 47 years. It is estimated that homelessness costs the UK £1 billion per year.
“The YMCA Hostel in King’s Lynn has 15 beds and managed 126 referrals since April 2016. The Purfleet Trust will be 25-years-old in 2018.
“The trust deals daily with about 80 homeless people aged 18-65 years.
“In 2013 the Freebridge Housing Association provided a house for homeless people. Freebridge were pleased with the scheme and over the past three years, four houses were made available giving accommodation for 17 people.
“A local businessman then bought two more houses bringing the available accommodation to 29 beds.
“Some of the houses are just for women.
“This project will have one paid coordinator and will require about 60 volunteers.”
lIf you are interested in volunteering your time or applying for the 16-hour a week night shelter coordinator position, contact Kelly Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org.