Make a change for Plymouth’s Homeless

Pic shows the new tap-to-give box at the PAFC Fan Store. (L-R) Sonia Berry, Plymouth Argyle Deputy Retail Manager with Councillor Chris Penberthy and Kate Medhurst from PATH (one of the local charities benefitting from the donations)

Do you worry about whether giving money to people begging on the street is the right thing to do? A new campaign is being launched today that gives people two alternative but simple ways to make a change for Plymouth’s homeless.

The Make a Change campaign is providing places for people to make a small donation as easily as possible through contactless tap to give points, knowing that all the money will help the homeless and tackle the complex issues behind why people become homeless.

Through the StreetLink app, people worried about someone sleeping rough can easily get information through to local teams who can provide expert help. All people need to do is download the StreetLink app and fill in the details. StreetLink is a national organisation and exists to help end rough sleeping by enabling the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.

Plymouth has changed its approach to helping the homeless and earlier this year, the Council commissioned the Plymouth Alliance to bring together organisations to deliver accommodation and support to some of the most vulnerable people in the city. Services include drug advice, mental health support, accommodation and housing support. Bournemouth Churches Housing Association, Harbour, Shekinah, the Zone, Plymouth Access to Housing (PATH), Livewell Southwest and Hamoaze head up the Alliance and work with a wider range of partners.

Plymouth City Council and partners have worked together to bring the Make A Change campaign this winter to make sure people know how they can help and what is available in the city to support people when they need it.
In the last six months 1,212 households have approached the Council for advice and support about their housing situation or homelessness. Last month there were 27 Plymouth people seen sleeping rough in the city – that’s 27 too many.

Cllr Penberthy, Cabinet member for Housing and Co Operative Development said “There is no one single answer to tackling homelessness. People don’t become homeless by choice. Behind each statistic there is a person and their story.
“We have set out to tackle some of the problems that can lead to people being in this position. They are not overnight answers. This campaign gives our residents the chance to help Make a Change in two ways. If they come across someone on the street they can direct the right support to them using the app. Now they can also donate money directly to homeless charities in the city, PATH, Plymouth Soup Run and Shekinah, and help to make important changes to the lives of those who most need it.”

Mike Taylor, the Director of PATH (Plymouth Access to Housing) said; “The new contactless boxes are a great, modern way of donating. We see people all the time who are facing homelessness, for whom, a small amount of money can often make a significant difference, whether it’s to help with bills, pay for food or put towards gaining accommodation or essentials for living. We know there is a lot of goodwill in Plymouth and it’s great that people will now have the chance to help in this way.”

The campaign website gives more information about homelessness in Plymouth, how to report someone sleeping rough and also sets out to answer frequently asked questions, helping people to be part of the system and the solution