Homelessness Leeds: Project SOS

Project SOS Homelessness Leeds

Project SOS Homelessness Leeds is basically the homeless outreach division of the IVA’s vegan cooking collective. Dedicated to locating and feeding rough sleepers in and around Leeds, particularly in the Town Centre at least once a month. Where possible we seek to provide useful materials such as thermals and/or water proof clothing. We had originally applied for a community foundation grant as to increase our level of support especially in the areas of nutrition and eco-therapy. Unfortunately this was unsuccessful but we may reapply at a later date.  Nevertheless we know that malnutrition is strongly linked with homelessness, some common health issues being:

  • An impaired immune response;
  • Delayed wound healing;
  • Higher rates of depression;
  • Increased anxiety;
  • Delayed recovery from illness;
  • Reduced muscle strength and fatigue;
  • Impaired thermoregulation;
  • Increased rate of respiratory difficulties.
  • Other than short term sustenance the science shows that any intake of animal protein, be it meat, milk, cheese eggs, is detrimental to long term health. According to Evans & Dowler’s study of homeless people:

    • Just over one-quarter ate vegetables daily;
    • Nearly two-thirds said they rarely consumed fruit, salads, wholemeal products, and fruit juice;
    • Their diets tended to be high in saturated fats and sugar;
    • 70% of the population interviewed said that they wanted to improve their diets.

    At present we do homeless outreach at least once a month but would very much like to build on this, and we always welcome people who would like to help out. Food donations we accept are any that are derived from plant sources (and exclude any animal derived ingredients) such as:

    • Soups
    • Beans
    • Rice
    • Potatoes
  • Lentils
  • Corn
  • Legumes
  • Savouries
  • Tofu
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Humus
  • We also accept the following items:-

    • Thermal clothes
    • Gloves
    • Hats
    • Sleeping bags
    • Rain coats

    • Hot water bottles
    • Flasks
    • Umbrellas
    • Tents etc

    If you or anyone you know would like to support this project by donating any of the above items, they may be delivered to the address on our contact page for the attention of: ‘Project SOS’ or ‘IVA’. Collection can also be arranged by emailing or calling us. Please make any cheques or postal orders payable to ‘Interfaith Vegan Alliance’, for more info click hereAlso see ‘no evictions’ & axe AXE the bedroom tax! The following video takes a look at homelessness in Leeds, presented by Dumi Senda, and featuring interviews by Ifty Patel.

    On the 20th March 2014, our outreach team recorded the police harassing a harmless beggar on the streets. Although begging on the streets may be ‘unsightly’ to the privileged class, wouldn’t it make more sense to leave people alone if they are not harassing anyone rather than serving them with a 222 injunction (issued by Leeds City Council & enforced by West Yorkshire Police)? If homeless people are unable to get money from begging they are much more likely to engage in illegal activities to obtain it, especially if they are desperate and have significant social needs. We’ve recently been informed that the police have been seizing sleeping bags from the homeless as part of this 222 agenda.

    I grew up on the streets and looking back over 45 years ago to those days it breaks my heart to read that nuthin’ much changes in this money grabbin’ world…so this mix is for all those people out there who, through circumstance, are experiencing what most of us can only imagine.

    Now when you climb into your bed tonight, and when you lock and bolt the door, just think of those out in the cold and dark: ‘Cause there’s not enough love to go around (johnny Solstice)

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