Leeds charity Homeless Street Angels speaks out on cost of living crisis as 'more families going hungry'

A Leeds charity has made a plea to the local community as demand for its services goes through the roof.

By Abbey Maclure
Monday, 11th July 2022, 4:45 am

As the cost of living crisis grips the city, Homeless Street Angels works supports the city's rough sleepers, as well as working families who can no longer make ends meet.

But with donations at an all-time low and more families coming forward to ask for help, co-founder Shelley Joyce is worried they won't be able to manage.

The charity will host a family fun day on July 23, with a tombola, raffle, choir, frozen live act, barbeque, bouncy castle, face paints and other stalls.

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Homeless Street Angels founders Becky (left) and Shelley Joyce

It's hoped the Angel Fest event, held at The Bar on Park Lane in Roundhay, will raise awareness of the charity's work - as well as raising vital cash.

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“It’s non-stop and it’s getting busier and busier," Shelley told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"The fun day is to raise awareness for the charity and bring the local community together, so they can see what we’ve been doing. We rely on the community for donations, they’re the people that keep us afloat.

Homeless Street Angels and Street Paws, handing out gifts, food, clothing, and advice to the homeless in December 2020 (Photo: James Hardisty)

“We’ve noticed a huge difference in regards to cash donations and donations of clothing. Everything has gotten quieter.

"And it’s worrying.

"We’re seeing a lot more people who are working asking for help. Before, they could scrape by on their wages every month, but now people can’t manage that.

“There’s a stigma attached to asking for help. We always say to people, you don’t have to be homeless - if you’re hungry, you’re hungry.

"Everybody is struggling and we don’t judge people at all.”

Homeless Street Angels delivers around 40 food parcels a month, with 239 families on its register for support.

It also gives out more than £1,000 worth of items to rough sleepers every Thursday.

“I'd urge people who do have extra money to think about the families who have no food in the cupboards," Shelley said.

"I’ll never forget, during lockdown, I dropped off a food parcel and a neighbour stuck her head out the window and said she had no food.

"She opened her cupboards and they were almost empty - no tins, no cereal.

"And when you take a food parcel to a family with kids, the kids jump up and down. Those everyday items that people take for granted are sometimes what families don’t have.

"I am worried about the future, with the economy. The demand is going to increase and I don’t know how we’re going to manage."

Angel Fest will take place at The Bar on Park Lane from 1pm-5pm on Saturday July 23.

Tickets cost £5 and kids go free. Enquire at [email protected].