An alternative giving campaign is launched today to help people sleeping rough in Birmingham.
Change Into Action is a pilot scheme, initially in Birmingham, with the potential to expand across the region.
The campaign is jointly supported by Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), led by the Mayor Andy Street.
Birmingham CC’s ambassador for homelessness and tackling rough sleeping, Cllr Sharon Thompson
Alongside local charities and support services, they are piloting a new way people can help rough sleepers – in just a few clicks.
The aim is to shift support so it is directed into specialist charities and street teams already working to change the circumstances of rough sleepers.
New and innovative ways to help will be promoted via an interactive information campaign around the city, on social media, at local businesses and online.
Birmingham CC’s ambassador for homelessness and tackling rough sleeping, Cllr Sharon Thompson, said: “Birmingham is an advocate of the multi-agency approach and has a strong history of working in partnership with charities and organisations to tackle homelessness.
“We welcome the collaborative approach between Birmingham City Council and WMCA in developing and launching Change Into Action, which will direct the public’s support through to our expert teams and target help for maximum impact.”
This initiative is an early demonstration of work by the Homelessness Task Force set up by the Mayor Andy Street as a priority following his election.
He said: “Rough sleeping on our streets in Birmingham is completely unacceptable and shames us as a city.
“I have been committed to tackling this issue and the West Midlands Homelessness Task Force has brought together organisations from the public sector, the voluntary sector and businesses to ‘design out’ homelessness in the region.
“Working together with Birmingham City Council, we have developed Change Into Action, a new way for people to give, and know that their donation will really make a difference to rough sleepers’ lives.
“We hope to be able to roll this scheme out to other parts of the West Midlands after Christmas.”
Jean Templeton, CEO of St Basils’ charity for homeless young people and chair of the Mayor’s Homelessness Task Force, said: “By working together across the region, across sectors and disciplines, we have the opportunity to tackle the systemic issues which contribute to homelessness and introduce ideas to prevent and design out homelessness.
“Change into Action provides the assurance that your donation will be targeted directly in a positive way to those who need it most.
“No one should feel that the streets are their best option.”
The campaign was created by Accenture Consulting, Accenture Interactive and its dedicated Design and Innovation Agency Fjord. Jen Hawes-Hewitt, who leads their Global Cities work, said: “West Midlands Combined Authority and Birmingham City Council’s leadership in tackling homelessness is inspiring.
“Accenture, building on our existing transformational work in the region, are proud to bring our digital and design skills to help address this important social issue.”