On the 10th of October 2023 people around the world will mark World Homeless Day in many varied ways and change the lives of people experiencing homelessness in their local community.
In England, rough sleeping was up by 26% last year. At a time when the cost-of-living crisis is impacting people more than ever, and suggestions that this is likely to lead to more people becoming homeless, charities such as Jimmy’s are some of the most critical organisations working with those in need, working at scale and in a systemic way to bring about change.
Homelessness in Cambridge
Numbers of rough sleepers counted in the annual Cambridge autumn street count rose compared with the previous two years. This follows the national trend. Reasons are complex and not fully understood, but include: a core number of long-term rough sleepers not accepting or maintaining accommodation opportunities; and a steady drift to the street of new rough sleepers, many of whom originate from outside Cambridge but appear to be drawn to the City by services not available in their home area.
Jimmy’s increase capacity to help even more people
A number of new initiatives have been implemented across Cambridge over recent years to try to prevent and tackle rough sleeping. Last year, Jimmy’s made an important decision to repurpose office space at their East Road shelter, turning them into 5 new bedrooms, each with private bathroom. Within the new bedrooms, there is a fully accessible suite allowing access for people with mobility needs.
“We are proud to be opening our doors to an additional 5 people. With the cost-of-living crisis upon us, Jimmy’s services are needed now more than ever. This extension of our rooms will enable us to provide even more support to those currently homeless in Cambridge.” – Mark Allan, Chief Executive
The rooms were officially opened in April although they will reach full capacity now as we head into one of the busiest periods for homeless support. As the nights draw in and the weather becomes colder and wetter we know that each night spent on the streets increases anxiety, isolation and other associated conditions. We want to reach as many people as possible to offer them supported accommodation and an opportunity to create a more independent future.
“Having been fortunate to be offered a bed in 2010, Jimmy’s was my salvation. This extra capacity represents more than just 5 rooms. It’s more opportunities for people to feel safe and secure, to regroup and then move forward with support. It wasn’t and isn’t an easy time of life when on the streets, but with these further rooms we are able work toward what success looks like for the individuals who need them. Jimmy’s is and always will be more than a bed.” – Barry Griffiths, ex resident and current staff member
Will you help support those experiencing homelessness this World Homeless Day?
“For the first time in a long time, I feel safe and secure enough to take a long look at myself, to reflect and rebuild my life again.” Nathan, resident