Volunteers go homeless in Lowestoft

WHEN Val George and a group of fellow campaigners set about raising awareness of the plight of homeless women in Lowestoft, they decided there was only one way to get their message across.

Determined to highlight the need for new facilities in the area, the group voluntarily became 'homeless' for a whole day as they wandered the streets in a bid to raise funds for a new homeless shelter for women – and then spent the night sleeping rough to show the hardship that some people face on a daily basis.

Ms George, 61, the manager of Hope House at Kirkley Cliff Road, Lowestoft, joined the 10 volunteers and ex-homeless men in sleeping outside on a chilly evening to experience what many go through.

She told The Journal: 'We thought this would be a excellent way to raise awareness and support for the homeless situation in Lowestoft and get a first-hand experience of what these people go through daily. Our men's home has been very successful and we would like to be able to offer women the same help.'

Hope House, which is run by the Adam Outreach Project Ltd charity, is a Christian-run home that offers 15 homeless men an alcohol and drug-free zone to rest and recover from whatever problems they face.

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'Hope House has helped changed the lives of many men since the opening in 2008 by providing a safe place to sleep, an address to register themselves, and support with finding work and permanent housing,' Ms George said.

'The home has quickly become a helping hand to hundreds of men looking to turn their lives around for the better. The current support system for homeless women in Lowestoft is very limited so the group want to help with that by raising funds through various events in order to open a home just like Hope House.'

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One of those taking part was former homeless man Mark, who came up with the idea to sleep rough for 24 hours. 'I wanted to raise funds to give something back to those who helped me turn my life around, and a sponsored night on the streets was like revisiting how far I'd come since my homeless days,' he said. 'The staff at Hope House helped me build confidence, a social life and a new perspective on life and now I want to help others in the same way.'

Ms George said she and the team were planning to organise other fundraising events this year.

If you would like to support the charity with event ideas or donations, contact.hopehouse@gmail.com

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