Acton Homeless Charity Reports Soaring Demand for Services

"Devastating" economic turndown making times even harder

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Acton Homeless Concern - Emmaus House, and

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The economic downturn is “devastating” for some of the most marginalised and poorest people in society, according to Acton Homeless Concern. The charity says it’s operating 40% above its maximum capacity at the same time as its main government grants are expected to be cut by 40% this year.

According to the annual Trustees report, AHC provided more than 44,000 meals at Emmaus House in Berrymead Gardens, W3, for approximately a thousand needy people in the year ending in March 2011 – up 4,000 on the year before.

But thanks to the generosity of local businesses and churches, plus the tireless devotion of an army of volunteers, the charity was able to maintain its host of services including medical and anti-alcoholism advice, clothing and bedding for rough sleepers and, most of all, a place of hope and friendship.

AHC chairman Anne Gray said: “Recession always has most impact on those who can least afford it. For our clients in particular, often seen as undeserving of help and support, financial cutbacks can be devastating.”

Even with many of the services and supplies given free of charge by local providers, in the coming year the trustees will have to focus on finding new sources of income. From April 2012 it’s expecting significant cuts in grants from Ealing Council and Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs plus dealing with the impact of rising costs. Half the 20-year-old charity’s income of £217,000 comes from public donations, which makes so vital the next two Saturdays (Dec 11th and 18th) of annual street collections in Ealing and Acton.

AHC is hoping that the success of fund raising efforts like Children in Need shows that even in tough times, people are willing to put their hands in their pockets and give something for those who have almost nothing.

“Food, warmth, a roof over your head and a supportable way of life should be a foregone conclusion in our society,” said AHC manager Ian Breen. “Unfortunately, there are people who fall by the wayside and don’t get a chance to pick themselves up. That is why we are here, to offer support and encouragement and the opportunity for them to get back on their journey.”


December 29, 2011