Sustain UK went out on our monthly trip to provide new clothes and food (donated to us by His Church Charity) for the homeless Birmingham City Centre. The homeless crisis is showing no signs of improving and has gotten worse over the past year.

While we were handing out supplies, there were two other groups also providing free hot food. The number of people who were there needing this was staggering. These were genuine homeless people who were telling us of all the awful conditions in which they survive — often sleeping under flyovers, park benches & walking as far as 10 miles to find a place of safety. They described these places as their home, which was heartbreaking. So many were traumatised, and the look of despair in their eyes was painful to see.

I have personally been providing accommodation and support for the vulnerable people for 30 years, and the enormity scale of the current crisis is alarming. Over the years, we have met people sofa surfing and some who even felt safer on the streets than in some hostels. We have worked hard to gain the trust of these people and have found long term accommodation for many; however, nothing prepared us for what we faced last night.

Last week I met with the BCC Senior Manager for Housing Strategy to discuss a partnership between our two organisations. We will now be continuing to work with BCC as well as other agencies to do everything we can to help with the homeless problem.  According to BCC figures, there are currently 2700 people in temporary accommodation in Birmingham alone. We feel the true number is far higher than this, as many sadly go unaccounted.

Now, we provide supported housing to over 2500 individuals and have the capacity to help even more vulnerable people. We also have plans in place to open an assessment hub for the homeless, and this will also be available to those without recourse to public funds.


Pauline Hughes – CEO