Thousands of hidden homeless people in Birmingham need support - how you can help

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SIFA Fireside launches campaign to raise awareness of thousands of people in Birmingham who are homeless - sofa surfing and living in squats

A Birmingham charity has laid bare the issue of hidden homelessness in the city in a bid to help people who are sofa surfing and living in squats and temporary accommodation.

SIFA Fireside in Digbeth has told how it has helped hundreds of rough sleepers in the city in the last year. But most of their work concerns the thousands of people who are classed as ‘hidden homeless’.

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In comparison the charity has reached out to 540 who have experienced rough sleeping since April 2023. Yet during the same period it has also suported 2,437 people living in hidden homeless. Its volunteers are working with an advertising agency to raise awareness about the issue with strking ads over the city centre.

SIFA Fireside in Digbeth, BirminghamSIFA Fireside in Digbeth, Birmingham
SIFA Fireside in Digbeth, Birmingham

Melissa Roche, Head of Fundraising, Volunteering and Communications at SIFA Fireside said: “Raising funds is of vital importance to us so that we can keep our Support Centre open and accessible to those that need it most but this is about education too. Having a temporary roof over your head doesn’t mean that you no longer need support and it’s up to us to stand by individuals while they rebuild their lives in safety and with dignity.”

Melissa continued; “This thought-provoking pro-bono campaign that One Black Bear have created for us will make people stop and think, before making their donation to support our essential work.”  

Founded in the 1980s, SIFA Fireside has long been dedicated to supporting adults experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness in Birmingham. Their Support Centre, located in Digbeth, serves as the city's central hub for adults without a place to call home, offering a range of responsive services, including health clinics, housing advice and financial planning, as well as hot meals, showers and clean clothing. 

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Through the generous continued support of leading media company, Ocean Outdoor, top-quality OOH advertising space has been donated to spread this important message across the city and make the issue more visible.

Raising awareness about issues of hidden homelessness in Birmingham with SIFA FiresideRaising awareness about issues of hidden homelessness in Birmingham with SIFA Fireside
Raising awareness about issues of hidden homelessness in Birmingham with SIFA Fireside

Jon Harrison, Co-founder and Creative Partner at One Black Bear, added: “Homelessness is an issue that Birmingham deals with better than most other European cities. This is thanks to the sterling work carried out by local charities, such as SIFA Fireside who work tirelessly to support those most in need. This is a subject that has been very close to the agency's heart for years and we're proud to donate our creative expertise to help these wonderful organisations continue to help others.”   

To make a difference in the lives of people experiencing both rough sleeping and hidden homelessness, the public is encouraged to support the campaign by visiting https://sifafireside.co.uk/hidden/. Here, individuals can donate and play their part in addressing homelessness in Birmingham and ensure that support is available to all those who need it.

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