SOME of the hardy folk at housing group Thirteen are to spend a night sleeping under the sky this week in support of a homelessness charity.
Five members of staff from the organisation’s Key Step team are braving the elements for Sleep Out Sunderland. On 15 November, they will be joining dozens of people from across the area to get their heads down for the night at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.
The group is also being sponsored for the event to raise funds for homelessness charity, Centrepoint.
Angela Lofthouse, an assessment support co-ordinator working on Thirteen’s Key Step homelessness project, arranged for staff to take part in the event.
“At Thirteen, I’m seeing an increasing amount of homelessness with people sleeping in cars, tents and actually on the streets,” she said. “Every day we work with people who are facing difficulties with housing and we help them to overcome a wide range of problems to find a home and help improve their life chances.
“As housing professionals, it’s useful to be reminded of what life can really be like on the streets – especially in the winter – which is why I’ve recruited some volunteers from Thirteen to spend the night at the Stadium of Light.”
Those taking part can look forward to a cold and uncomfortable night as they experience just a tiny part of what young people sleeping rough face.
Lofthouse added: “We know that sleeping in the open for one night will only give us a small idea of the daily challenges that homeless people face, but I think it will help us to understand our clients a little better and hopefully improve the services we provide.
“We’re also hoping to raise hundreds of pounds from friends, family and colleagues, so if we can give a little back to a homeless charity, then it will be worth one night’s discomfort.”
So far, she and her colleagues have raised over £1,000 through the Sleep Out Sunderland webpage.