The Liverpool City Region Homelessness Business Charter was launched in November 2019 following shock at the deaths of rough sleepers Aimee Teese and Richard Kehoe. Tony McDonough reports
More than 30 businesses have joined a campaign to combat homelessness and its causes in the Liverpool city region.
Launched in November 2019, the Liverpool City Region Homelessness Business Charter was created with the Community Foundation for Merseyside (CFLM) and Liverpool Parish Church, working with national homelessness charity Crisis.
It was initially backed by seven leading businesses who had been shocked by the deaths of rough sleepers Aimee Teese and Richard Kehoe. They were Avison Young, DLA Piper, MSB, Gaskells Waste, Investec Wealth & Investment, Liverpool ONE and Onward Homes.
Each has pledged to to make a “tangible contribution” to tackling homelessness, from sponsorship to equipment, from volunteering to pro bono services, and they are urging other businesses to join them.
Now the number of businesses supporting the drive has risen above 30 and those behind the charter are calling on more to join the cause and help them meet their target of 200 businesses signed up by the end of 2020.
Each is asked to nominate a Charter Champion from within their business who will receive training from homelessness charity Crisis aimed at raising their awareness of the issues surrounding homelessness. One of the charter’s aims is to help change public attitudes to the problem by communicating its complex causes. Training for the first cohort of eight Charter Champions has started, taking place in Liverpool One.
The champions will now ensure that their colleagues are kept informed about homelessness issues and the various initiatives which are seeking to tackle them. Rae Brooke, chief executive of the Community Foundation for Merseyside, said: “We want the Homelessness Business Charter to have real purpose and to make a tangible difference and we are delighted with the initial response from the business community.
“So far 33 businesses have pledged to help end all forms of homelessness in our region, because they are aware that it has deep social and economic impacts and recognise that they are in a position to help over the long term.
“However the more businesses that signup to the charter, the more can be achieved in supporting public and voluntary agencies in offering practical help, but also in spreading the message about the varied causes of homelessness, clearing up misconceptions and finding the best ways to tackle it.
Denise Banks, commercial director of Gaskells Waste, one of the original seven, said: “Homeless people and rough sleepers are something that most of us see every day and it’s an issue that is often reported on in the media – often tragic tales are told. Some of the statistics I have seen are shocking.
“Homelessness is an issue that affects us all and sometimes we can feel helpless in tackling the situation or if we do intervene it might not be in the best way even if the intention has been to make a difference to someone living in these terrible circumstances.”
To join the campaign or to find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org