"Frightening" time for people found homeless for first time

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report.

A Bristol homeless charity says they are seeing more people than ever losing their home as a result of the pandemic.

Bristol Outreach Support for the Homeless (BOSH) say their volunteers have engaged with more than 31,000 vulnerable people since March.

They've also rapidly expanded their food parcel deliveries after being loaned a van.

The charity's founding director Julie Dempster says it's been an extremely frightening time to find yourself homeless for the first time.

She says, "We had new people who have never experienced homelessness and you could see how daunted they were.

"They didn't know how to access services, who they had to speak to. We were very fortunate that St Mungos works alongside us so we could refer clients straight to them for accommodation and advice."

Gill says she couldn't do without the help of services that BOSH provide

Around 60 people are supported every morning and evening, when the team of volunteers, supported by the Shireway Heart Starters medics, visit St James Park.

They provide food, clothes, sleeping bags, and have even needed to provide first aid for those suffering from hypothermia.

Gill lives in supported housing, she says the help she receives from Julie and the BOSH charity has been invaluable.

"We need to get some funding for Julie because she has no money to do this and it's needed. The government won't do it - all this coronavirus has brought this to a head."

As well as twice daily outreach services, BOSH provides is a food parcel delivery service to vulnerable families.

During this current lockdown, a number of their usual suppliers such as Greggs and Pret have had to shut their doors which has had a huge impact on the service. 

Fortunately with the loan of a van from Karshare their weekly delivery service has been able to expand their operation by 500%, from just six deliveries a week to 32.

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