‘Rain is so much worse than the snow,’ was the surprising observation  from the homeless man waiting patiently in the queue for the sausage, bacon, eggs, beans, and toast – which was likely to be his one hot meal for the day.

He has been a rough sleeper for several years and has suffered from a mental health condition linked to post-traumatic stress disorder from his years of army service.

First frost

The project volunteers who have, for the most part left their centrally heated homes, having enjoyed a good night’s sleep under a warm and dry duvet, can sometimes struggle to imagine what it must it be like to sleep exposed to the elements, night after night. The previous evening had brought the first frost of winter.

And that was when he said that the rain was worse than snow. He explained: “Once your boots, socks and trousers are soaked, there is no way back. It’s so hard to find places to fully dry out.”

Recent investment in homeless support in Cornwall has helped reduce what was one of highest national figures for rough sleepers.

But high rent levels,  sanctions under the benefits systems often combined with mental health conditions arising from substance misuse mean that there sadly remains a large number of people in Cornwall who do not have a secure roof over their head at night.

Make a difference

The Cornwall Christmas Giving Catalogue offers a number of ways that you can give a gift which that will make a make difference to a homeless person.

The projects to which you can give include the Breakfast Project run by Churches Together in Penzance, which once again will operate in partnership with the St Petroc’s Night Shelter provision in January

Save lives

There is also the Backpack Bed Project – which distributes tents that are lightweight, fully waterproof, and which provide emergency relief to those living on the streets. Backpack Beds are more durable and cost effective than standard sleeping bags and blankets. They save lives.

The catalogue provides ideas and tactical ways you can help people less fortunate across Cornwall. So if you are stuck for a last-minute gift, why not download the Cornwall Christmas Giving Catalogue by clicking here.