A team of nine from Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association (LYHA) gave up their home comforts to take part in ‘Sleep with Simon’ last night, an annual rough sleeping fundraising event organised to raise awareness and vital funds for Simon On The Streets, an invaluable homelessness charity based in Leeds.
The team, which included LYHA’s chief executive Lisa Pickard and its chair (designate) David Craig, plus staff working in neighbourhoods, community investment, estates and development; has already raised over £1,000 in sponsorship of the event for the charity.
They joined hundreds of other businesses and individuals in spending a night sleeping in the open air at the Royal Armouries in Leeds in order to learn about the real challenges that face rough sleepers on a daily basis and to understand exactly how and why they exist.
Each sleeper was provided with one cardboard box to lie on and the kit list included a sleeping bag, mat, warm clothes, waterproofs and a torch.
Along with the actual sleep there was also a unique opportunity to hear from some of the people Simon On The Streets has supported and to learn about why homelessness is about so much more than simply having nowhere to live.
Lisa Pickard, chief executive of LYHA said: “At LYHA we help by providing homes but there’s a shortage and in the meantime, many people often through no fault of their own are finding themselves homeless.
“So, we decided to go the extra mile and raise money to support Simon on the Streets and also to raise awareness of the issues. This charity is very close to our hearts and many of those who work in our sector.”
Simon on the Streets is an independent charity that works with those who have complex needs and cannot or will not access other services.
“Within that group the focus is on people who are homeless and rootless, especially those with issues related to rough sleeping.
The aim of the charity is to bring people leading solitary harmful lives, with little or no vision for a better future in from the margins of society.
“The charity will achieve this by supporting people to find aspirations and giving unlimited opportunities to achieve sustainable positive change.
To sponsor the LYHA Team in raising funds for Simon On The Streets visit www.justigiving.com/LYHA-sleepwithsimon or text LYHA £5 to 70070 (or LYHA £1, £2, £3, £4 or £10).