Concerns as charity helps more homeless

Chorley Help The Homeless manager Peter Walkden and volunteers Gavin Clayton, Dianne Taylor and Phyllis Barton
Chorley Help The Homeless manager Peter Walkden and volunteers Gavin Clayton, Dianne Taylor and Phyllis Barton
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A homelessness charity has revealed a large increase in the number of people needing help in Chorley - and fears that demand could still rise further.

Last year, Chorley Help The Homeless supported more than 500 new people struggling with homelessness, benefit problems and other issues.

And they gave out more than 600 emergency food parcels – a 100 per cent increase on the year before.

Peter Walkden, who manages the centre on Clifford Street, believes changes to the benefits system have hit many people around the borough.

He said: “I think it’s a lot to do with the benefits system and the bedroom tax.

“They are putting the bedroom tax on and there aren’t houses for people to move into, so they are being sanctioned.”

He added: “When they bring out universal credit, it’s going to get worse.

“Vulnerable people live from day to day and they will suddenly get all the money given to them and I don’t know how they will manage.”

The shocking figures come just weeks after the Guardian revealed the tenfold increase in demand for help from Chorley’s food bank, Living Waters Storehouse, since it opened two years ago.

Between 120 and 130 people are referred to the centre each month to receive a food parcel, though that figure continues to rise.

Chorley Help The Homeless provides a range of support for people who are homeless, which can include sleeping rough and “sofa surfing”, as well as people moving into new homes.

It is not just unemployed people needing help – the charity also sees people in work who cannot afford to buy food once they have paid all their bills.

People lose their homes for a variety of reasons, such as relationship breakdowns or financial problems, and some are sleeping in derelict buildings and even surviving on just boiled water.

Peter said: “Everyone has a different story and needs different help.”

The charity provides food parcels, basics such as cutlery and blankets, counselling and other advice and support.

It relies on donations of cash, food and goods and is well supported by people around the borough.

Chorley Help The Homeless is open from 9am to 2pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.