TEN volunteers will be sleeping rough later this month to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless.
Sleep Out to Help Out is being organised by Matt Robinson, who will be taking part in the event with nine other volunteers who will experience a tiny part of what it’s like to live on the streets.
Members of Rugby homeless charity Hope4 and estate agent Sean Newman are also taking part. The sleep-out will take place outside St Andrew’s church on August 29.
Matt said: “Even though homeless charities like Hope4 exist, many of the things that we take for granted – food, homes, warm and clean clothes – are hard to come by for the homeless, and especially when temperatures drop below freezing.
“Because of such conditions, crime, disease, and feelings of hopelessness and isolation are daily realities for many homeless people. Imagine if it was your reality.”
2010 estimates put the number of people regularly sleeping rough in Rugby streets at 12. However during Hope4’s Winter Shelter project earlier this year the charity sheltered 56 rough sleepers in four months, providing 853 nights of shelter.
Data from 2010 also reveals that almost all the 1,500 people on Rugby borough’s housing list were considered in ‘priority need’, meaning they were homeless, living in unsanitary conditions, needed to move because of medical or welfare grounds or were facing hardship.
Repossession rates vary in Rugby between 100 and 200 per year.
Matt added: “A real sense of community has arisen out of this and we have had a lot of volunteers and sponsors come forward.
“Some security is being provided by Stonewall Security who have offered their services for free and so have many others.
“This is Rugby people helping out Rugby people.”
Pete Wayman, support worker for Hope4, is one of the volunteers. He said: “Unfortunately homelessness in Rugby is getting worse - for example since 2004 volunteers have handed out 35,000 free hot meals to hungry people in Rugby. The cuts may be necessary but it’s often the poorest who feel the knock-on effects.”