Charity boss rejects ‘sleep out’ criticism

John Holmstrom CEO of Worthing Churches Homeless Project
John Holmstrom CEO of Worthing Churches Homeless Project

THE chief executive officer of Worthing Churches Homeless Project has responded to criticism of charity ‘sleep outs.’

A recent article in national newspaper The Guardian claimed that homeless charity sleep outs trivialise the issue of homelessness.

The sponsored sleep outs are a popular choice of fund-raising for homeless charities, which involve spending one night under the stars in a pre-determined safe environment.

Alastair Sloan’s article reads: “These Bear Grylls excursions just perpetuate the myth that homelessness is about rough sleeping, and is therefore a much smaller problem than it really is.”

John Holmstrom, CEO of WCHP, responded: “There has been criticism recently over the nature of sponsored sleep outs and it has been suggested they hide the real crisis of homelessness.

“The sleep out may not highlight all types of homelessness but it does give an insight into how cold and wet we might get if we had to spend a night out. Most importantly the sleep out brings the issue of homelessness to the forefront.”

He added that the charity and other agencies in the town were working to address the needs of people struggling to maintain accommodation but they need to raise funds and awareness to do this.”

For the full story, see the Worthing Herald, Thursday, November 21.