Transform seeks donations for winter homeless shelter

19 December 2014

Transform Housing & Support is urgently seeking donations for our winter shelter to help homeless people in Elmbridge, Runnymede and Spelthorne. The project is being run in partnership with several local organisations.

Transform is launching an emergency winter shelter in the first week of January, to help up to seven homeless men and up to two homeless women. The shelter in Hersham will assist people who would otherwise be sleeping rough, for example on the streets, in a tent or in a car.

The project will operate from January until the end of March, which tends to be the coldest and wettest time of year. People will be given a bed for the night, so they have somewhere warm and dry to sleep. They will receive a hot drink and a hot meal in the evening and a simple breakfast in the morning.

We are seeking financial donations and offers of supplies and goods to help get the project off the ground. Paul Mitchell, Chief Executive of Transform Housing & Support, said:

“Even in an affluent area such as Surrey, homeless people end up sleeping on the streets or living in a tent or vehicle. During the winter, this can lead to serious health problems and can even be fatal.

“Our winter shelter will provide an essential lifeline during the coldest and wettest time of year. We will give people a safe place to stay and a hot meal – but we will also give them support to help them get off the streets for good. We are urgently seeking financial donations towards this project, as well as collections of food, toiletries and cleaning supplies from the local community.”

We are working closely on this project with Elmbridge, Runnymede and Spelthorne Borough Councils, and the Rentstarts from the three boroughs. Significant funding is being provided by Walton Charity and the shelter premises has been provided by Whiteley Village. Support has already been received from several local churches, community groups and charities.

Transform ran a winter shelter from January to March 2014 for homeless people in Elmbridge. The shelter helped three to five people each night, with 218 beds occupied in total during the project.

One person who stayed at the shelter in 2014 was Stephen, who said:

“Being homeless is really, really tiring. When you get wet, you’re wet and everything you own gets wet. When you get cold, you’re cold – there is literally nothing you can do to change it. Having somewhere warm, dry and safe with a hot meal each night made a huge difference to the way I felt. I am very grateful to Transform for the warmth, safety and security they provided.”

The shelter will only be open to people with a connection to Elmbridge, Runnymede or Spelthorne and will operate by referral only, with people being assessed off-site and booked in during the day.

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