Churches will give the homeless a bed for the night

Caring hands: Dave Fawcett, Elly Smith and Major Paul McNally
Caring hands: Dave Fawcett, Elly Smith and Major Paul McNally

Homeless people could be given a much-needed bed in a church this winter.

Several organisations in Halifax are teaming up to help those who would otherwise be sleeping rough during the worst weather.

The last two winters have seen Calderdale enduring heavy snow and plummeting temperatures.

But if a new scheme, already tried in Bradford, goes ahead, churches could be opening their doors to offer shelter.

Dave Fawcett, chairman of the food drop-in run at Ebenezer Methodist Church in Halifax, is helping co-ordinate the scheme.

He said he knows from working at the drop-in that there are people sleeping rough in Calderdale, under bushes and in parks.

“We think there are about 10 people currently homeless in Halifax. That’s not including those who sleep on other people’s sofas,” he said.

He said people who were “sofa surfing” could well become homeless if they fell out with their friends or family.

And if they did, they would have to travel to Leeds or Bradford to find a homeless hostel, or sleep on the streets.

“There is nothing in Halifax. You can’t be homeless here,” he said.

He said the risk for people who did have to travel away from their friends, families and the area they knew to find a hostel was that they could then become vulnerable to drink and drugs.

“But we can do something about it,” he said.

The Salvation Army and Carlton United Reform Church have shown interest in offering their buildings already and organisers hope more churches will be in touch.

Bunk beds would be moved around to different churches and there would also be food on offer.

The project could run from mid-January to mid-February.

Anyone interested in volunteering, donating or finding out more about how their church might be used should email Dave at catchdkf@hotmail.com.