For a number of years whilst I was at university in Bristol I used to volunteer at the Julians Trust Homeless Shelter (also known as the Bristol Night Shelter). It was here I got my first experience of homelessness.
Amongst other things, the shelter provides warm meals, showers and professional support for around 80 people per night. Each night it also supplies 18 emergency beds for the homeless, people that would otherwise be sleeping on the streets.
Like almost all other homeless shelters, the Julians Trust shelter relies on donations and volunteer support to operate. The running costs for such an establishments are very high, and even though the shelter is only open in the evenings through to the morning (9.30pm and 10.30pm), for 5 days a week, it still costs in excess of £1,500 per week to run (2013)).
Personally, I believe there should be more organisations like the Julians Trust to cater for the increasing number of homeless people ending up on the streets each week but I’m a realist and I understand that organisations like the Julians Trust take a lot of time, effort, money and passion to start up and continue operation and these aren’t always in great supply.