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Twenty rough sleepers find shelter thanks to homeless charity

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The homeless charity home has reached its $50,000 fundraising target (Image supplied)

Rough sleepers were given shelter over the festive season after a fundraising effort by a new charity.

The organisation – called home – launched a bid at the beginning of this month to raise $50,000.

The goal was to provide accommodation for the more than 50 people sleeping rough across the island.

The group has confirmed that the $50,000 has been reached, and 20 people, 40 per cent of rough sleepers – including two women – had a roof over their heads.

Half of the group were seniors, including some people in their late seventies.

Denise Carey, the executive director of home, said: “We are overjoyed that we have been able to begin to provide shelter to a number of our rough sleepers.

“All our rough sleepers are vulnerable but particularly the gentlemen in their sixties and seventies.

Breaking new ground: Denise Carey, executive director of home (Photograph supplied)

“Within days of launching our campaign, we had received donations of a few dollars up to several thousand.”

She added: “People from all walks of life and of varying means have stepped forward to give generously to this important mission and we could not be more grateful.

“We were also inundated with calls to provide food, beds and comforters and other forms of support. All I can say is thank you, Bermuda from the bottom of my heart.”

A rough sleeper is someone without shelter that can be defined as living quarters.

The charity estimated that rough sleepers amounted to about 10 per cent of the homeless and housing insecure population.

Aaron Williams, a case manager for home, said that rough sleepers were among the most vulnerable sectors of society.

He added: “Prolonged periods of rough sleeping have a significant impact on someone's mental and physical health.

“Over time, their needs become more complex and as a result need more help to move on from homelessness and rebuild their lives. Rough sleeping can also be dangerous.”

Mr Williams said the organisation was now working to house the other 30 rough sleepers on its books.

He added: “There is a perception that many will not want to. Our direct engagement with this group tells us otherwise and we expect to bring in the vast majority in due course.”

Suitable accommodation has been earmarked through collaboration with the Government, non-governmental agencies, and the private sector.

The shelters provide accommodation, safety and security as well as an environment for the provision of support.

The sites also include normal household amenities and people can shower, wash clothes and prepare meals.

Ms Carey said that the accommodation was a springboard, which rough sleepers could use to begin to rebuild their lives.

She added: “For each of our rough sleepers there are a range of complex challenges to work through. There is much to be optimistic about also.

“In just two short weeks we are seeing several instances of the rebuilding of bonds with family members. We are witnessing smiles and laughter.

“There is a long road ahead but trust is building and there is a great deal of love, compassion and respect that surrounds this group.”

Anyone who needs help, or wants to provide assistance, should contact Ms Carey on 599 9933 or by e-mail to denise@home.bm.

Mr Williams can be contacted on 599 9934 or by e-mail at aaron@home.bm.

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Published December 29, 2021 at 7:54 am (Updated December 29, 2021 at 7:54 am)

Twenty rough sleepers find shelter thanks to homeless charity

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