In the twelve months since its launch, Solihull Change into Action has raised more than £46,000 to support specialist organisations and outreach services working to change the circumstances of individuals sleeping rough and those at risk of homelessness.
Change into Action was initially launched in 2017 in Birmingham as a partnership between Andy Street the Mayor of the West Midlands, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), and Birmingham City Council.
left to right, Cllr Karen Grinsell, Mayor of the West Midlands - Andy Street, Cllr Alison Rolf, Chair of the WMCA homelessness Task Force - Jean Templeton and Chief Executive of Solihull BID - Melanie Palmer at the launch of Solihull Change into Action on 12 September 2019.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Rough sleeping across the West Midlands is completely unacceptable, and we have been working hard to right this moral wrong.
“The aim of the WMCA Homelessness Task Force is to design out homelessness, but this will only be achieved through collaborative working. I am therefore delighted that Change into Action in Solihull, which has seen the WMCA working in partnership with Solihull Council, Solihull BID and Solihull Churches Action on Homelessness, has been so successful and raised so much money for those most in need.
“Clearly the coronavirus pandemic will have a significant impact on homelessness as people begin to fall on harder times. So, alongside the critical collaborative work we are doing locally, including both Change into Action and Housing First, I hope the Government will use World Homeless Day this year to build on ‘Everyone In’ and seize the opportunity to find a long-term solution to prevent homelessness.”
As well as big donations from The Enterprise Trust, National Express, Paragon Bank, Renewal Church, Solihull BID and Touchwood, the campaign has also received donations from individuals donating online and at collection points at shops in Solihull Town Centre.
So far, grants have been given to: Accord Housing Association, Birmingham & Solihull Women’s Aid (BSWA), Solihull Churches Action on Homelessness (SCAH) and St Basils. These have been used to help with accommodation and furnishing needs, tackle social isolation, pay for transport costs and purchase starter packs for mothers and children.
Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger and Safer Communities, Cllr Alison Rolf, said: “When Councillor Grinsell and I joined with Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and Solihull BID to launch Change into Action, we had no idea what the year ahead had in store for us.
“Although Solihull still has very few people who regularly sleep rough, we do have people who are homeless. Covid-19 has made this situation much worse as we’ve seen an increase in domestic abuse and family break ups during this period. Thanks to our donors, we have been able to increase the support to our local providers helping them to meet the varied and complex needs of the individuals and households they work with.
“Change into Action supports local homeless people back into the community and helps to ensure that they can move into permanent accommodation. As we focus our minds on World Homelessness Day, we know the next year will also be very difficult. So as well as thanking this year’s donors, I would also ask for more people to get involved and help us to change lives.”
To make a donation visit - https://changeintoaction.org.uk/solihull/