Here at The DPS, we love to hear how our Charity Fund donations have helped those less fortunate. We were thrilled when one of our previous award recipients, StopGap, told us that our donation meant over 65 individuals have been given a warm bed and a chance to establish more permanent housing.
Almost two years ago, StopGap Sheffield applied for £5000 to help them extend their reach and make sure more homeless people can escape the threats of violence, hunger, bad weather and health problems that can so often make their lives a misery. StopGap does this by providing an emergency short-term overnight accommodation scheme for those who might otherwise have to sleep rough.
Ruth Grayson from the charity explains how our donation made a difference:
“We arrange and pay for bed and breakfast, one night at a time, for clients referred to us by our voluntary sector partner agencies. This (donation) enabled us to provide approximately 140 beds in private B&Bs in the city, benefiting between 65 and 70 individuals. Although the average length of stay is only 2 nights, this gives both client and agency a bit of breathing space and time to seek other solutions.”
Ruth was also able to tell us about some of the real people the money benefited.
“Andy was referred to StopGap by one of the nightly soup runs in Sheffield. He had been sleeping rough in a disused school building for some time. After losing his job, he was thrown out by his partner - who remained in the family home with their children. Andy wanted to stay nearby, so he could see his children on their way to and from school, but without an address of his own, he was forbidden access to them by the courts. After just one night in StopGap accommodation, which gave him a shower and laundry facilities in addition to a good night's sleep and a cooked breakfast, Andy gained the confidence to go and apply to the city council for housing. In due course this was successful and Andy managed to establish his own home and eventually regain regular access to his children. Just one night in safe, warm accommodation made all the difference in his case.
Another client, Brian, who had also lost his job and subsequently fallen into rent arrears, was referred to StopGap by one of the day centres working with homeless people in the city. After a couple of nights in a warm bed, the welfare officer at the centre was able to find him supported accommodation at Emmaus Sheffield where Brian is now said to be doing well. He has regular work and is making friends with some of the other residents.
Christina found herself in a desperate situation when her partner suddenly became very aggressive toward her. She had come with him to England from Bulgaria after he got a UK work permit. Being from Bulgaria, Christina was not able to access public funds and so she was not eligible for help in a refuge for victims of domestic violence. When homelessness seemed like a certainty, StopGap was the only organisation in Sheffield able and willing to keep her safe and off the streets while longer term arrangements could be made.
These are just some of the examples; there are so many other similar cases. The DPS donation has been invaluable, if not an actual life saver, in all these instances.”
If you work for or know of a charity that could benefit from the DPS Charity donations fund, please don’t hesitate to apply for funding right here.