Kelley Green recently visited Wintercomfort For The Homeless in Victoria Avenue as a spell of very cold weather was causing concern. She said 'It's worrying there has been an increase to around 80 guests a day needing support like cooked breakfasts and extra warm clothes, up from 60 this time last year.' These people are either homeless or at risk of homelessness,.
Staff explained it's commonly caused by the break-up of a relationship or unemployment. Changes to benefits has pushed more people on to the streets. Housing benefit is now only awarded on rooms under about £370 a month in Cambridge, determined by what is deemed 'reasonable' for the region.
Hostel places are scarce and the report is of long waiting lists of people trying to obtain shelter. Many homeless people have support needs, making it hard for them to live independently so the care they receive at Wintercomfort For The Homeless is invaluable. Donations of sleeping bags are appreciated but what is needed more are volunteers to give one morning a week, making cups of tea, attending the front desk or doing data entry to support guests. The lovely staff made Kelley feel very welcome and despite their desperate circumstances, there were a few laughs to be had with the guests. .