Homeless sleep-out will go ahead in King’s Lynn

Jo Rust who is organising the sleep-out. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Jo Rust who is organising the sleep-out. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Volunteers are determined to go ahead with a homeless sleep-out tonight despite the freezing forecast.

Around 15 people will be sleeping rough on the street in King's Lynn to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless and to call on West Norfolk council to include a permanent night shelter in its homeless and rough sleeping strategy.

West Norfolk Labour and trade union campaigner Jo Rust, who has organised this event, said she had considered calling off the sleep-out due to the severe weather warning, but said homeless people do not have the same choice.

'Homeless people don't have that option so I felt we too needed to go ahead with it,' she said.

'If it gets really bad I will call an end to it to ensure people's health and safety is maintained.

'I'm advising people to bring all they can to keep warm. But if we were homeless we'd only have what we could carry in a large bag.'

West Norfolk councillor Sandra Squire will be taking part in the sleep-out and said it would be pointless to do the sleep-out during warmer months.

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She added: 'It will be a cop-out if we cancelled it because of the cold weather, when so many homeless people can't go home.

'This experience will be invaluable to learn what a homeless person goes through. We have a rising homeless population in Lynn and a lot of people don't know that.

'I am lucky I have thermal clothing and I can go home after, but a lot of homeless people hold down jobs and I don't know how they do it.'

The sleep-out will take place outside Blue Inc in Broad Street, from 9.30pm tonight until 5.30am tomorrow morning.

When asked why they had chosen a working night, Mrs Rust said: 'At the night shelter we saw people who were working yet had no home. I want as many people as possible to experience how hard it is to do that, sleep rough and then get up and go to work.

'I'm off to Mary Turner's memorial service at St Paul's in London on Tuesday.'

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