Homelessness Awareness Week seeks to raise awareness of local services and support

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homeless man

Bedford’s Homelessness Awareness Week returns for its second year from 1 December to look at the issues around homelessness and to raise awareness of local services and support.

“There isn’t a National Homelessness Awareness Week, and I think that’s a real shame,” said Sam Price, Homeless Inter-Agency Officer for Bedford and coordinator of Homelessness Awareness Week.

“We have Awareness Weeks for things like stress, and sugar, but nothing for homelessness.

“Rough sleeping has increased nationally by 165% since 2010, so I think it’s important to talk about that, to look at the issues and to raise awareness of local services and support.”

The week will see a number of events that will help raise awareness of the issues around homelessness.

  • 1 December: Art and Photography Exhibition at the Higgins Bedford. Bedford Homeless Partnership has partnered with Fujifilm to distribute a number of single-use cameras to rough sleepers and people living in hostels and temporary accommodation. The results of these projects will be on display in the Higgins Gallery until March 2020.
Homelessness Awareness Week
A photo of the John Bunyan Boat, taken as part of the project
  • 2 December: Tale Be Told theatre company present “On Hold”, a darkly comic play about families living in temporary accommodation. Tickets are available online or from the Place Theatre, Bradgate Road.

 

Homelessness Awareness Week
On Hold will be performed at the Place Theatre.
  • 3 December: SoupFest. For £3, members of the public can get a delicious cup of soup and a bread roll, and be entertained by live music from 11am to 3pm in Harpur Square. All money raised goes to projects supporting homeless people in our Borough.

 

SoupFest
Soupfest raises thousands of pounds for homelessness causes in Bedford
  • 4 December: ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay’ Hub welcomes visitors for an open morning to see the new facilities and support available for rough sleepers in our Borough. Admission is free, but pre-booking is essential via Eventbrite.

The final event on 6 December, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism presents the findings of a major collaborative investigation into the housing crisis.

Reporter Maeve McClenaghan will talk about the Bureau’s series #LockedOut, which looked at failings in the government’s landmark homelessness legislation and how families on housing benefit are priced out of nearly all homes in Britain.

Read: Homelessness: 97.5% of rental properties in Bedford are unaffordable to those on benefits

The situation is particularly bad in Bedford where only a handful of available rental properties are affordable.

Ricki Barton, a Bedford man with personal experience of long-term homelessness, works as a mentor for Community Led Initiatives. He will tell his story following the presentation.

Joining him will also be Mike Hyden, founder of Bedford homelessness support organisation Just Us, and Erica Roffe from the Bedford Independent who worked on the Locked Out investigation.

They will discuss with the audience the obstacles that keep people in Bedford trapped in homelessness, and what can be done to address them.

Tickets for this FREE event are available on Eventbrite or contact sam@bedfordhomeless.org.uk for more information on this and all the other events.


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