BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 16 December, 2002, 06:27 GMT
Christmas shelters prepare to open
Rough sleepers
The government has vowed to reduce rough sleeping
Hundreds of volunteers have been working to turn five premises into Christmas shelters for London's homeless people.

They expect to provide food and shelter for up to 1,000 people when the shelters open their doors during the last week of December.

The charity said increasingly it was providing for what it calls the hidden homeless, rather than rough sleepers.

The main Crisis shelter this year is in Mandela Way, Elephant and Castle.

This gives them somewhere to come, obviously to get their services, but also that important companionship

Shaks Ghosh, chief executive Crisis
Every year, 2,500 volunteers give up their Christmas to run the shelters, completing on average three eight-hour shifts.

In the past they have included IT consultants, cabaret performers, accountants, even a Concorde pilot.

The Open Christmas does not just provide food and shelter, there is also access to housing benefit advice, medical services, counselling and help with drug, alcohol and mental health problems.

Crisis chief executive Shaks Ghosh, said: "Increasingly now we're working with people who are still homeless but living in emergency shelters, grotty B&Bs.

Internet cafe

"This gives them somewhere to come, obviously to get their services, but also that important companionship."

The charity estimates there are about 400,000 single homeless people in England, living in shelters, bed-and-breakfast and even sleeping on friends' floors.

Last year Crisis operated an internet cafe for the first time, with computer experts, who once slept rough themselves, on hand to advise on how to send an email to long-lost loved ones.

It was a huge success and fully booked for all the 306 hours the shelters were open.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC London's Leyla Hayes
"Bloomberg City workers swapped their computers for paint brushes."

Click here to go to BBC London Online
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes