A mystery donor has given away £4 million to the Heart of England Community Foundation, a specialist grant-making charity in Coventry, central England, to create new or update existing housing infrastructure for the vulnerable people who don’t have a roof over their heads across the West Midlands.
The foundation will use £3 million of the donation money to fund important initiatives to help humans sleeping rough on the streets and without homes in the New Year. The rest of £1 million will be added to the Foundation’s endowment fund, which is invested to guarantee a legacy of giving for the coming years.
This generous gift comes after 38-year-old David Williams, a homeless man, was found frozen to death [as temperatures plunged to -0.8C in England] in Birmingham city centre near the Bullring Shopping Centre.
The Heart of England Community Foundation has sent out a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the anonymous donor for giving them their biggest donation yet. Tina Costello, CEO of the Foundation, said in a statement:
“This is an incredible gift to receive just before Christmas and is a huge investment into the third sector locally. There is a real need for good-quality, accessible accommodation for vulnerable people in the West Midlands so we are delighted to be launching a programme of this kind. Next year we will be seeking applications from organisations to help us deliver this project effectively.
“This could be supporting people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, women and children leaving abusive situations and in need of refuge, or people with disabilities who need specialist accommodation. This is an incredible and unique opportunity for voluntary sector organisations in this region and will provide support for many vulnerable people locally for years to come.”
While one in every 111 children is currently homeless across the United Kingdom, and the problem is getting worse rather than better, Birmingham’s rough sleeping rate has risen to 55% from 36% in 2015.
The region is estimated to need 300,000 new homes to meet the rising demand. Shelter, another homelessness charity, recently warned that 16 families are becoming homeless every day in the West Midlands.
Councillor Ed Ruane, lead member for children and young people, warned Universal Credit changes affecting Coventry in April could prove disastrous for struggling families:
“I fear the crisis is only set to escalate further, as the Government’s controversial Universal Credit is rolled out in the city. I have seen people at risk of losing their homes because of delayed payments and problems with their benefits.”