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Staff sleep out to support homeless young people

(l to r) Emma Hill, Gary Keen, Emma Beurskens and Angela Lofthouse

Hardy staff from Thirteen will be supporting a homelessness charity by spending the night under the stars this November.

Five members of staff from the housing company’s Key Step Team have signed up for Sleep Out Sunderland that encourages people to brave the cold and sleep outside for a night so young people don’t have to.

On 15 November, the team will be joining dozens of people from across the region in a sleep-out at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

At the same time as getting a greater appreciation of what people sleeping on the streets face every night, the group is being sponsored to raise funds for homeless charity Centrepoint.

Angela Lofthouse, an assessment support co-ordinator working on Thirteen’s Key Step homelessness project, arranged for staff to take part in the event.

She said: “At Thirteen, I’m seeing an increasing amount of homelessness with people sleeping in cars, tents and actually on the streets. Every day we work with people who are facing difficulties with housing and we help them to overcome a wide range of problems to find a home and help improve their life chances.

“As housing professionals, it’s useful to be reminded of what life can really be like on the streets – especially in the winter – which is why I’ve recruited some volunteers from Thirteen to spend the night at the Stadium of Light.”

Participants can look forward to a cold and uncomfortable night as they experience just a tiny part of what young people sleeping rough face.

Angela continued: “We know that sleeping in the open for one night will only give us a small idea of the daily challenges that homeless people face, but I think it will help us to understand our clients a little better and hopefully improve the services we provide.

“We’re also hoping to raise hundreds of pounds from friends, family and colleagues, so if we can give a little back to a homeless charity, then it will be worth one night’s discomfort.”

Angela and her colleagues have so far raised nearly £900 through the Sleep Out Sunderland webpage.