'Homeless but not worthless' - Volunteers spend a cold night on Hartlepool streets to raise awareness
Volunteers and supporters of a Hartlepool-based organisation that helps homeless people spent a night on the cold streets to raise awareness of the issue.
Positive Helpful Outcomes North East CIC huddled down in sleeping bags in front of the civic centre in Hartlepool town centre on Saturday night.
The organisation works with and helps people who are homeless and is currently renovating a house in the town to provide shelter to those on the streets including forces veterans.
Members who did the sleepout shared much of the experience on social media with people watching from as far away as the Philippines.
And one well-wisher watching from Liverpool had takeaway food sent out to them.
Jaime Horton, a director of Positive Helpful Outcomes, said: “The reason for the sleepout was to raise awareness for homeless people’s plight and help raise the profile of what we do.
"We had lots of people going past showing their support and beeping their horns. One person came over and gave us £10 thinking we were homeless.”
The group also included William Guy, Josh Rutherford, James Bushnall, Robert Taylor and Lisa Alexander.
They displayed signs stating that people who are homeless are not worthless.
Jaime, 42, said whilst they had fun she was left exhausted after just one night on the street.
"It took the volunteers and directors till late on Sunday night to get warmed up again,” she said.
“I couldn’t have done what I did every night. It gives you a little inkling how they must be feeling sleeping out there day and night, in rain and snow.”
They spent from late Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning out on the street.
But Jaime said the event achieved what they set out to.
"I’ve been working with homeless people for quite some time,” she said. “The aim was to help them know there’s people out there that care.
"The majority of people feel as though they are tossed to one side and don’t get the help and assistance they need.
"People were watching through the night and sharing it. We had people who were homeless saying ‘thank you for sharing our plight’ which meant a lot.”
Positive Helpful Outcomes North East CIC works to provide full wrap around support for homeless people including accommodation, mental health and finances.