Newcastle is to join other cities around the world in a bid to help up to a million homeless people.

New York, New Delhi, Chicago, Dublin and Barcelona are just some of the cities that will be taking part in the World’s Big Sleepout on 7th December 2019.

This project will see tens of thousands of people around the globe swapping the comforts of their homes for a night spent outdoors. The aim is both to raise money for homeless charities and to highlight the plight of those forced to live on the streets.

Half of the money raised in Newcastle will be going to the Street Zero initiative, a project launched last year that aims to end rough sleeping in the city by 2022.

Street Zero, which is run by a group of partners including Crisis and Changing Lives, will use the money from the sleepout to provide support for local people at risk of sleeping rough.

It is estimated that in 2017/18 nearly 5,000 people in Newcastle were saved from homelessness.

The other half of the money raised will help people across the world who have lost their homes because of natural disasters, poverty and wars. The global aim of the World’s Big Sleep Out is to raise $50 million, which will benefit around one million people.

There will be 60 official sleepouts on 7th December, with thousands of smaller events also taking place all over the world.

People will be able to sign up for the sleepout in Newcastle City Centre from September onwards. The venue will be announced in due course.

The leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, said, “We’re proud that Newcastle is a city that has already made great strides in tackling homelessness, but our work will not be done until it has been eradicated.”

“That is why we have pledged to become a homelessness-free city and end rough sleeping through the Street Zero partnership.”

“This alliance of four sectors – public, business, charity and community organisations – aims to deliver a city-wide initiative to prevent rough sleeping.”

“We want to see an end to homelessness at home and across the world, and Newcastle’s Big Sleepout will be a fantastic way for people to show how much this matters, as well as raising money to help people at risk of homelessness in our city right now.”

The chair of the Street Zero partnership, Bob Eldridge MBE, said, “Newcastle is a city that cares.”

“We see this in the compassion showed by residents and people who live and work in the city, the businesses that take their corporate social responsibility seriously, and the many public and third-sector organisations who are already working in partnership towards ending homelessness.”

“Thanks to the work of the Street Zero partners the number of people who sleep rough in Newcastle is far lower than in other cities.”

“Those who are on the streets often have very complex needs.  By joining in Newcastle’s Big Sleepout, people will able to help fund the intensive services that are needed to solve these problems once and for all and help our fellow city residents start rebuilding their lives.”

For more information about the work of Street Zero, please visit http://streetzero.org/.

To learn more about the World’s Big Sleepout, please go to https://social-bite.co.uk/worlds-big-sleep-out/.

(Featured image courtesy of dualdflipflop, from Flickr Creative Commons)





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