Increase in homeless needs
The St John Ambulance Homeless Service team in
Brighton have reported an increase in the number of people
needing their help in the area, which they believe could be
linked to the global recession.
The team of volunteers hold drop in sessions each week at St
Anne’s Day Centre, St Patricks Night Shelter and on Brighton
Seafront for homeless and vulnerably housed people
to receive first aid treatment, podiatry care and general health
advice and have noticed an increased demand for the services they
provide since the credit crunch has caused many people to lose
their jobs and homes.
In the first quarter of 2008 the team of 40 volunteers including
14 nurses and two podiatrists treated 212 cases, however during the
same period of 2009 this has risen to 358 cases possibly brought
about by the extreme weather in February and the recession.
We are finding that more of the people we see need help and advice from us because they have lost their jobs and homes through the recession
St John Ambulance Birghton Homeless Service Coordinator
Coordinator of the service Lesley Heasman says, ‘We are finding
that more of the people we see need help and advice from us because
they have lost their jobs and homes through the recession. Many
people think that it can never happen to them and people lose their
homes because of lifestyle problems such as drugs and alcohol.
However this is not always the case. The cost of running a home has
increased dramatically in the last year or so and for many people
it is impossible to find the extra money, so they may be forced to
leave their homes and either sleep on the streets, squat, or stay
on other people’s floors and sofas.
'We support these people however we can by sign posting them to
other agencies and taking care of any immediate health problems.
This is our priority.’
St John Ambulance is a national charity and receives no funding
from the government or NHS and therefore relies heavily on
donations. Lesley continues, ‘As a charity we are also feeling the
strain of the economic crisis and with the increased demand for our
services there comes increased costs. We always welcome any
donations or fundraising ideas and would love to hear from anyone
who would like to help.’
The Brighton Homeless Service was set up by St John Ambulance in
1998 in response to the limited access to primary health
care services for homeless and vulnerably housed people
and has been providing outreach clinics since 2000.
For more information on the service call 01273 371