Firms lend support for charter on homelessness

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Meeting with local housing leaders. Pic © VS6

Businesses from across Merseyside are coming together in a continuing effort to help end homelessness.

A handful of local businesses have signed up for the Liverpool City Homelessness Business Charter, including Investec Wealth & Investment Liverpool, Avison Young, Liverpool One, along with Wirral-based B&W Waste Services.

The first of its kind in the UK, the charter seeks to eliminate homelessness by using its members contributions to tackle root causes.

This includes funding early intervention schemes, offering mobile phone and internet access to enable job searching, providing furniture packs and protesting the installation of anti-homeless measures.

Gill Bainbridge, a representative of VS6, a partnership of organisations for the charter, told JMU Journalism: “VS6 is proud to support Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise organisations to help tackle homelessness in our City Region.

“This initiative is an opportunity for partners to come together, do something when things go wrong, show that we care and make a difference. Homelessness is unacceptable and ending it must be a priority.”

YouTube: Community Foundation for Merseyside

The charter was created in part with help from the Community Foundation for Merseyside and Liverpool Parish Church, with the intention of having 200 businesses signed up by the end of next year.

Planning for the charter began after the ‘Homelessness and Rough Sleeping – Who Cares?’ conference in April at Liverpool Parish Church, where cases were brought up of rough sleepers dying of exposure in the area. They were just a handful of what the Office for National Statistics recorded were 726 homeless deaths in 2018.

Phil Rooney, chair of Professional Liverpool, said at the conference: “Everyone who works in the city centre sees on a daily basis people with absolutely nothing to their name, living what must be a terrifying existence.

“The business community is well placed to make a difference, not only in supporting the initiatives of the various agencies tackling homelessness, but also in spreading the message about the varied causes of homelessness and the best ways to tackle it.”

By 2020, the charter hopes to have implemented a champion for each of the businesses involved, with training provided by Crisis, a UK charity founded in 1967 to help people affected by homelessness.

About Charlie Burgess, JMU Journalism