This is the text of my Soapbox column in todays Brighton Argus (14th December 2014)
We are a nation of animal lovers. Rightly so. We should be proud of that.
Can you imagine the outcry there would be if there were 100 dogs sleeping on the streets of Brighton and Hove, with no homes, no one to love them, exposed to the elements. There would be an outcry.
Yet there are over 100 men and women sleeping on the streets of Brighton each night.
Where is the outcry?
The facts about life on the streets are sobering. The average life expectancy for a homeless man is 47 years. For a homeless woman it is just 42 years.
As we approach Christmas, people do ask BHT what they can do to help. We are, literally, overwhelmed with offers from people wishing to volunteer. Unfortunately, we have to turn most away.
You can support the work of the many excellent homelessness organisations working across the city by making a donation.
I know that our day centre, First Base, which offers life-sustaining services for homeless people, depends on the donations we receive at this time of year to provide services over the Christmas period and throughout the year. Without the generosity of the people of Brighton and Hove, First Base could not stay open.
One of our clients was asked what Christmas Day would be like for him this year.
He replied: “The same as every other day”. For him, there is no magic when he wakes up on Christmas morning, no presents, no loved ones, no warmth or Christmas cheer. But, he says, at least he has First Base to go to.
Please support our work by sending a cheque payable to ‘BHT’ to 144 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4PH, or donate online.