Helping those who help the homeless

Paul Minter

Constable Way, Bexhill

I’ve just heard that five homeless people have died in Hastings since Christmas. I’m still in shock [only three deaths have been confirmed by the police - Observer].

Just before Christmas I was walking along Bexhill seafront at 2pm in the afternoon and saw a man trying to sleep under a dirty duvet in one of the new shelters.

Last week I was dropping my grown-up son home and at 11pm saw a man going into the woods on the edge of Bexhill Downs with cardboard under his arm. The question I ask myself is – what can I do? Three groups of people come to mind, I’m sure there are many more.

The Street Pastors, Warming up the Homeless and the Food bank. I need to help them, we need to help them, all year round and not just because of guilt at Christmas. I’m pointing the finger straight at myself, for not knowing what goes on around me.

But this is not enough. Despite so many people donating and giving their time, five people are dead. They could be our children, our brothers or sisters, our parents. Homelessness can and does happen to anyone.

We need professionally manned shelters open 24/7/365. Food, clothing, showers, a place to just sit, and obviously sleep. Bexhill needs a shelter. Every town needs shelters equal to the amount of homeless known, so Hastings must need many more shelters.

This letter probably lacks much but I needed to write immediately. Five people are dead in a few days since Christmas. Please do more. I know that I have no choice but to respond.