People of the Streets have set up a £5000 Crowdfunder appeal to raise funds to launch their online store. This will allow people to gift essential items to homeless shelters across the UK.
The social enterprise was set-up by six students from the University of Nottingham last November in response to the growing homelessness crisis across the UK.
People of the Streets Team (Photo courtesy of People of the Streets)
According to charity Shelter more than 250,000 people are homeless in England. Neil Skinner, the communications manager for homeless charity Framework, believes the responsibility for this problem lies within the central government.
Neil Skinner explains who is at fault for the crisis
“…LET’S OFFER A TANGIBLE CHANGE.”
CHARLES KERR, PEOPLE OF THE STREETS MANAGING DIRECTOR
With this in mind as well as frequent media coverage of homelessness, managing director Charles Kerr was inspired to create a model that could have real social change.
“We recognise from doing our research that there is this stigma that if you give money to people on the streets who are begging that you’re not sure where that money will be spent. We said look let’s offer a tangible alternative.”
Women’s hygiene pack (Photo courtesy of People of the Streets)
Their solution is product packs which are tailor made to suit specific needs of the homeless. The public can buy these through their online store which People of the Streets then distribute to one of six shelters across major UK cities, including Nottingham.
Garment pack (Photo courtesy of People of the Streets)
But the Framework employee says it’s important to remember that “Most of the people who beg in Nottingham are not street homeless, but this doesn’t mean they don’t have serious issues in their life.”
Funds raised from the Crowdfunder campaign will be invested in these packs and launching the online store.
So far the support has been encouraging, after 12 days there has been 65 donations and 40% of their budget reached
People of the Streets Crowdfunder video
One of the initiatives main goals was to address the stigma around homelessness which often deters people from giving.
This was illustrated last September as Nottingham City Council’s anti-begging campaign was banned by the Advertising Authority for reinforcing negative stereotypes.
“…there was no alternative of what you could do…”
Alex Greenhalgh, People of the Streets Director
People of the streets director Alex Greenhalgh was disappointed that the council did not offer another solution to the problem.
“That was the worst thing, there was no alternative of what you could do to help, it was just don’t give your money…don’t help them at all.”
“Certain aspects of what we’re doing is in many ways inspired by that campaign.”
East Midlands homeless charity and housing association Framework
But Neil Skinner explained that while the posters were clumsy, fundamentally the message the council had was right.
“What the council was trying to do was fair enough, and that was to explain to people that people who beg have serious problems and giving them money is not necessarily the right way to help them.”
If you’d like to support People of the Streets their Crowdfunder appeal is here.
If you or someone you know is sleeping rough contact Framework on 0800 066 5356