Public offered a better way to help the homeless over summer months



Visitors to summer events in the West Midlands are being asked to turn their change into action to help people who are sleeping rough or at risk of becoming homeless in the region.

To date the campaign, which was started by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and backed by local councils across the region, has raised £240,000 and helped over 500 people sleeping rough to move away from the streets for the good. This includes providing accommodation, access to healthcare, clothing and training that could help secure a job.

Residents in the West Midlands and those attending events across the West Midlands can visit the Change Into Action website to find out how to donate, discover ways to support people at risk of rough sleeping and help spread the word that there is a better way to help.

Public offered a better way to help the homeless over summer months

Change into Action, currently in its fifth year, is an alternative giving campaign operating across Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, and Walsall, with Wolverhampton having a similar scheme called Alternative Giving CIO encouraging people to make an online donation rather than giving money to people asking for change on the streets.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: “The eyes of the world will be on our region this summer as Birmingham and the West Midlands plays host to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. With so many spectators arriving in the West Midlands, we want to let them know the steps they can take to help those sleeping rough.

“During the five years it has been running, the Change into Action campaign has demonstrated tremendous collective resolve across our Local Authorities, businesses, and wider network of private, public and voluntary sector partners – helping to raise vital money for society’s most vulnerable.

“Our determination to tackle the pressing issue of homelessness will remain even when we are celebrating the Games and welcoming the world to the West Midlands.”  

Councillor Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for housing and homelessness at Birmingham City Council and chair of the WMCA Homelessness Taskforce Members Advisory Group, said: “Many of us want to help people who are sleeping rough, but we don’t know the best way to go about it.

“Birmingham City Council works as part of a coordinated street outreach service alongside partners like St Basils, Trident Reach and others to provide outreach services 24/7, including specialist support for vulnerable people. This means we already have staff on the streets every single day developing relationships and reaching out a hand to vulnerable people.  As part of this the council has funded additional staff to expand the outreach service to focus on people who have accommodation available to them but are street begging”.

If you would like to get involved, donations can be made online at  https://changeintoaction.org.uk/.

If you are concerned that someone may be sleeping rough then please report it through www.streetlink.org.uk/ The notification will go directly to a street outreach team who will follow up with an offer of help. If you think the person is in immediate danger or needs urgent care, please call 999.