Oasis is calling on street sleepers to take shelter on night transport throughout the winter and spring.
• In response to the high numbers of rough sleepers, and dangerously low temperatures at night (even in the spring), we've launched an emergency appeal to fund Oyster cards for rough sleepers
• Any donations are welcome, but £20 can keep homeless people off the streets during cold and wet nights
• We're renewing our commitment to tackling the longer-term causes of homelessness and offering broader provisions
Oasis Church Waterloo, along with the wider Oasis family, has launched a communuty-based effort to protect homeless people when tempeatures plummet in the evening. We are calling on everyone to help buy Oyster cards for rough sleepers who cannot access shelter so that they can at least keep warm and dry on public transport overnight.
Steve Chalke asked the congregation a few Sundays ago to donate the price of the coffees, to which they would otherwise treat themselves, to buy Oyster cards for London’s street sleepers so that they get off the streets, out of the cold and onto a bus or a tube train in the warm. As a result over £2,000 was raised in a few minutes and a host of volunteers pledged their time to give out the cards through this week.
However, with cold and wet evenings in the months ahead, and an urgent demand to tackle homelessness promptly, it is feared that even this generosity will not be sufficient. As such, we are calling on people to donate £20 to the emergency ‘Warm up’ appeal.
The first £10 will be used to purchase an Oyster card with adequate credit and the second, to cover the costs of the campaign to ensure it gets into the hands of people who need it.
Steve has said, “We are not pretending that this is a solution to homelessness. But, this is an emergency. We have to do something to get people off the streets and out of the cold and wet. It is impossible to walk through central London without seeing endless people begging, sleeping under cardboard and trying to shelter from the biting cold wind and freezing rain as best they can. We all pass them. And, if you are anything like me, often with no cash in your pockets, you just don’t know what to do."
“Whatever the rhetoric, in truth there are just not enough accessible beds for everyone who is out there in the cold. And, even if there were, some people have been so abandoned that they just can’t fit into institutional life. So, I am calling on all those of us who are fortunate enough to enjoy a warm home, good food and dry clothes, to give just £20 – the cost of a few coffees – to make what is potential a life-saving difference for someone else.”
It is estimated that there are now between 2,500 and 3,000 homeless people now lining the UK capital’s shop doorways and alleys. As the cold and wet weather continues this is not simply a serious threat to health but will also place increased strain on already overstretched Accident and Emergency Hospital departments across the city.
We also work on more long-term responses to homelessness and poverty in communities across to country supporting people from crisis all the way to independent living.