Each year at this time I have to think of new ways of asking you to support the work of BHT. Do I tell the story of someone whose Christmas has been improved because of the support BHT has given them, or a life changing experience as a result of our work?
The reality is that you will be bombarded by people urging you to support a range of very worthy causes. The choices I face at Christmas will be similar to yours: which causes or organisations to support?
Of course I want you to support the work of BHT and, in particular, that of First Base Day Centre. Here’s why. Without First Base many people would be completely destitute. Some might die. The average life expectancy for a homeless person in 47 years, for a homeless woman just 42 years. It is no exaggeration to say that First Base saves lives through its immediate services and by helping to move off the streets.
Last year we worked with 9,748 men and women, 2,077 with physical health problems, 2,685 with mental health problems. 688 were street homeless when we first met them, 204 ‘sofa surfing’.
Through our dedicated services, we helped 6,989 people leave homelessness or prevented them from becoming homeless.
Increasingly, the people who are turning to us for help are not our traditional clients, but people not unlike you and me who are, for the first time, facing the very real possibility of using food banks, losing their homes because of redundancy, ill health, relationship breakdown, zero hour contracts, and the like.
Some who are coming to First Base never thought that they would ever need a service for homeless people. It is as shocking to me as it is traumatic for them.
Many people think about homeless people more at this time of year. The nights are darker and colder, and most of us think about family and friends. Yet our conscience forces us to think of those who are not as fortunate as we are. Your generosity comes to the fore at this time of year and the financial support you give us helps us to provide life-saving services at First Base at Christmas and throughout the year.
We are all, increasingly, impacted by homelessness, be it someone we know or the disturbing sight of the ever increasing number of people sleeping in shop doorways in our towns and cities.
Your support is needed more than ever before because funding is being cut at the very time need is rising. Please make a generous donation to BHT. Everything you give will be used to keep First Base going.
You can send a cheque to me, payable to ‘BHT’ c/o 144 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4PH or online here.