Wycombe Homeless Connection – Winter Update
Wycombe Homeless Connection’s vision is to see South Buckinghamshire transformed into a place where no one is homeless and that there is suitable homes and housing security for all.
As we enter the winter, their services are changing, not least as despite everyone’s best efforts, more people are sleeping rough in the south of Bucks than anyone hoped would be. Their support centre in Wycombe and their homelessness helpline is open daily and due to an increase in need they have just doubled the amount of help they are offering in Chesham as one in six of the people they help already come from the town.
WHC are offering emergency accommodation in the winter for extremely vulnerable people who fall through the cracks of statutory support. There are beds in local B&Bs for people who do not qualify for help from the local authority and are often stuck in homelessness or simply cannot wait for the council to ‘verify’ that they are rough sleeping before being offered a bed. WHC often step in here, helping the young, elderly, women, people being discharged from hospital with nowhere suitable to go to make sure they don’t have to spend even one night on the street .
Because there are more people on the street this winter, their team of volunteers are running extra drop-in sessions where people who are on the street can get food, a shower, laundry, companionship and hope.
WHC also help Buckinghamshire Council manage their severe weather emergency accommodation where anyone who is sleeping rough during temperatures below freezing will be offered a place to stay for the night. They also help them run their Winter Warmth project – a bed will be offered between December and into March for those who the council has a duty to care for.
They are there to serve people like Tony, who came to their door cold and hungry, having slept on the streets for a number of nights.
Struggling with his mental health and addiction, he had been sleeping on the sofa at a family member’s house, but relations had broken down and he was left with no choice but to leave. He didn’t know what to do or who to turn to, but a local resident who saw him sleeping rough suggested he go to their door.
Within minutes of arriving, Tony was given hot food and warm clothes. They organised emergency accommodation so he was safe that night.
They then began working with him to find longer term solutions. They helped Tony register with a GP and access other support including regular parcels from a local foodbank; they connected him to local addiction support services and helped him apply for the benefits he was entitled to.
Tony’s story isn’t over yet, and whatever it takes they want their door to be open to more people like Tony this winter.
How can you help people who are homeless or facing homelessness in our community?
Tell and keep in touch.
Please also sign up for their emails so you can hear their latest news, about opportunities to help and the stories of people you’ve helped. https://wyhoc.org.uk/keep-in-touch
They are always in need of funding, all the details are on their website, www.wyhoc.org.uk or call 01494 447699 (9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday)
Their Big Sleepout will be on Saturday 2rd March 2024 and they need people to join them at Adams Park football stadium in Wycombe, to sleepout ‘at home’ https://wyhoc.org.uk/news-events/bigsleepout2024