With the number of homeless in Birmingham increasing each year, the city is now high on the list of places in the UK with the largest numbers of rough sleepers, homeless and vulnerable people.
Winter can be a particularly dangerous time of year for those living on the streets, but there are a number of ways in which even the smallest of gestures can make an enormous difference, including being mindful in looking out for the homeless during cold weather, donating money, clothing and necessities, fundraising or volunteering your time to local homeless charities.
SIFA Fireside is a registered charity that has supported the homeless and rough sleepers for the last 35 years in Birmingham. Beginning as two separate organisations, SIFA (Supporting Independence From Alcohol) – a local project that worked with street drinkers in the Moseley Area – and The Fireside – a place of respite for the homeless that provided access to shelter and food – merged in 2007 to provide inclusion, engagement and equal access to services for disadvantaged individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Their weekday drop-in centre at 48-52 Allcock Street is at the heart of their operation and is open five days a week, with breakfast and lunch being served each weekday, providing access to different services to meet individual needs. SIFA Fireside are always grateful for donations of clothing, warm coats, non-perishable food items and toiletries.
You can donate to SIFA Fireside via their Just Giving page here: www.justgiving.com/sifafireside
St Basils works with young people to enable them to find and keep a home, grow their confidence, develop their skills, increase opportunities and prevent homelessness. Formed in 1972 at St Basils Church on Heath Mill Lane in Birmingham, the charity currently supports over 5,000 young adults each year who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness across Birmingham, Coventry, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Wyre Forest.
St Basils accommodates nearly 500 young people across the West Midlands region each night and are currently running a £5 campaign to help raise funds to support their services. You can donate via their link here: www.stbasils.org.uk/donate
Change Into Action
Change Into Action was founded in 2017 is part of the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street’s Homelessness Taskforce, addressing the broader strategy of reducing homelessness throughout the West Midlands. Change Into Action is an Alternative Giving Scheme being piloted across Birmingham, supporting specialist Charities and Street Teams working to change the circumstances of Rough Sleepers. They assist with accommodation, travel costs and help to provide valid identification documents, something that many homeless people struggle to obtain.
Donate to Change Into Action via their JustGiving Page here: www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/changeintoaction/birmingham
Put on a Santa Suit and join Solihull BID on Sunday 15th December for their 2.5k Jingle Bell Jog to raise money for Change Into Action, sponsored by, Mell Square. For more information, visit here: www.solihullbid.co.uk/events/jinglebelljog
Birmingham City Mission
Birmingham City Mission’s Care Centre was founded in 1966 and aims to be a haven for the homeless, warm and safe, providing food, friendship and training to support people, often with complex needs, and to offer a way forward. Located on Washington Street, the BCM homeless drop-in Care Centre is open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and Monday and Tuesday afternoons.
You can donate to Birmingham City Mission via their website here: www.give.net/BirminghamCityMission
On Friday 28th February 2020, BCM are organising a fundraising Sponsored Sleepout event. Spend a night out in a cardboard box to raise money for BCM’s work with the homeless in Birmingham and find out what it’s really like to sleep rough. For more information, visit here: www.birminghamcitymission.org.uk/bcms-sponsored-sleepout
If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can use this website to send an alert to StreetLink. The details you provide are sent to the local authority or outreach service for the area in which you have seen the person to help them find the individual and connect them to support. For more information visit here: www.streetlink.org.uk