Homeless Street Angels: Leeds charity launches campaign to buy new base after spike in demand
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Leeds Homeless Street Angels, founded in 2016 by sisters Shelley and Becky Joyce, has seen the number of people it supports grow every day as the cost of living crisis continues to deepen.
The organisation also runs also a food bank, which has 340 people listed on its register – up from eight in just two years. Now, to cope with the rising demand, the charity wants to raise enough cash to buy its own property to create a permanent base where they can offer more support to those in need.
Shelley told the YEP: “We started off feeding the homeless and things have grown exponentially. We are getting so many more referrals on a daily basis – our workload has tripled over the last six months.”
The organisation’s vision is to own a property which would provide space to support the homeless, offer recruitment advice and food parcels and more. The project is being called Abi House, as a tribute to their sister Abigail who died six years ago.
“It’s very hard to raise funding,” Shelley said.
"You have to have a purpose to get a grant – you can get a grant for food and for sleeping bags but not for property.
"We have tried to rent a few properties before and a lot of landlords won’t go near us because it will have homeless people there. We have hit a brick wall. That’s why we are fundraising – to get a property.”
Co-founder Becky has done a number of different fundraising activities including diving with sharks for Abi House. In 2022, she raised £7,000 by jumping out of a plane. This year, the two founders and volunteer Helen Williams-Taylor will be wing walking on May 27 in hopes to raise £10,000.
Chantel said: “I have a fear of flying so I am not looking forward to it but it’s something that we have to got to do. We have noticed a decrease in donation, monetary value wise. It’s something we need to do to keep the finances going.”
The charity is also currently in the running for a Yorkshire Choice Award in the Local Fundraiser of the Year category and is inviting people to vote and donate to their cause to ensure that homeless people in the city are well-supported. You can donate to the charity here.