A south west London homelessness charity will raise money and awareness by taking part in the annual Sleep Out on Friday.
Glass Door based in Chelsea provides shelter during the 22 coldest weeks of the year across four shelters for about 130 individuals.
The charity will be spending the night sleeping out at the Duke of York Square to raise funds and awareness for people experiencing homelessness, and has currently raised £81,216.
Melissa Kerschen, senior comms manager, said: “The Big Sleep Out sends a message that we care about people who are going through difficult times, it’s loneliness that can be one of the most difficult things about homelessness.”
Kensington and Chelsea has the largest statistical gaps between the richest and the poorest residents in London.
According to Shelter, in 2018 there were more than 5,000 homeless people in the borough, this is equivalent to one in every 29 residents.
Mrs Kerschen said: “Homelessness is not having a solid place to call home and people can find themselves in that situation for all different reasons.”
She said there are many reasons people become experience homelessness, it can range from a break up in the family, to refugees, or people escaping abuse and slavery.
She added: “I think a lot of people want to do something about helping people who are experiencing homelessness, but it can be quite daunting as it seems like the problem is so big.
“But even a small action can make a big difference. Just remember that we are all human.”
The Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) database showed that 8,855 people were recorded as sleeping rough at least once on London’s streets in 2018 to 2019.
By partnering with churches around south west London, Glass Door can provide shelter and support to help people get off and stay off the streets.
Guests can get help by speaking to caseworkers who offer advice, advocacy and practical support to rebuild a more stable future for example applying for universal credit and getting access to other services like mental health support.
Eddie McCormick who currently works at Glass Door turned his life around after being homeless for 26 years.
After running away from an abusive family home, and following the divorce of his parents, Mr McCormick became addicted to alcohol and drugs.
Mr McCormick said: “I thought I ran away to freedom, I ran into darkness. I ended up in drugs and drink, and I ended up in prison – it was a cycle for the next 26 years.
“I was searching for this love in in drink, drugs, people, places and things, to fill this void that I’d never had. I never felt so alone in all my life, this abandonment and rejection was a deep rooted problem.”
Mr McCormick reached out to Glass Door and started volunteering in churches, he has been working with them for the past 3 years offering people support.
He said: “It was a like beacon, like a light house that directed me to somewhere called hope, it gave me a belief in myself.”
To sign up for the Big Sleep Out and for more information visit the website.
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