To highlight the plight of an increasing number of rough sleepers in Thanet and draw attention to the need for affordable housing, I helped organise a ‘sleep out’ with my Labour comrades. The event, if you could call it that, was an experience for all of us and made us appreciate the work of homelessness charities such as Canterbury based Porchlight.
This story appeared on the Porchlight website on 15th September 2016.
When Karen Constantine slept out to raise awareness of homelessness in Thanet, the harsh realities made her even more determined to help those in need.
The Thanet district councillor and her colleagues from the local Labour Party spent a night on Ramsgate seafront at the weekend.
“There’s a homelessness crisis and it’s important that we start drawing people’s attention to it,” said Cllr Constantine who used the opportunity to pass on information about Porchlight to passers by.
“Spending a night out there was cold, uncomfortable and tiring. We were woken up by a group of people in the middle of the night but they paid no regard to the fact we were there – we might as well have been invisible. Sadly, this is the day-to-day reality for some. Needless to say, I was very grateful when morning came around.”
Sleep outs can give a sense of what it’s like for those who have no choice but to sleep rough every day of the week.
Cllr Constantine says she has a stream of families contacting her because they’re facing homelessness an that rough sleeping is on the rise in Thanet – like the rest of the UK. She’s looking for long term solutions to tackle the problem and will be letting people in need know they can turn to Porchlight for advice and guidance.