Campaign to help homeless in Yorkshire city raised just £336 since launch five months ago

The text-to-give initiative was announced in November 2018 as a way for people to donate to rough sleepers. Stock image.
The text-to-give initiative was announced in November 2018 as a way for people to donate to rough sleepers. Stock image.
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A fundraising campaign to help the homeless launched by City of York Council has raised just £336 since it was launched five months ago.

The text-to-give initiative was announced in November 2018 as a way for people to donate to rough sleepers, as a council spokesman said giving them cash directly could “delay them getting help into safer lives”.

A similar fundraising campaign launched by the council in 2017 raised just £469.

Alex Brown, a volunteer with the Helping Other People In Need Group (HOPING) – an organisation which helps feed the homeless – said he was surprised by the low amount raised, as people and companies in York are generous to the group.

He said: “This is a small amount of money to raise.

“It doesn’t seem to have been advertised well enough, and there must be a clear idea of where the money is going to help people on the ground.

“If the council are going to raise money, we would like to see councillors on the street working out ways of solving things.

“They are showing willing but not really achieving things.”

A council report for a meeting about homelessness in February said begging in the city can be “very lucrative” with people raising more than £100 a day.

Mr Brown said that the money raised by the campaign – run in partnership with Two Ridings Foundation – would be shared among organisations Changing Lives, The Salvation Army and Carecent, and would not help people who are not using those services.

Tom Brittain, assistant director of housing at the council, said: “Our overriding aim is to help people off the streets and into safer, more stable lifestyles.

“This campaign is one way we are reaching out to encourage people to help through cashless donations. We and our partners work with rough sleepers year-round and, during the winter months, offer extra accommodation even if it’s a mattress on a hostel floor.”

He added that the council’s scheme to make sure no one has a second night on the street is “working really well”.