A week on Friday and at 2pm homeless people will be walking through the doors of this years crisis open Christmas to a welcome they don't often get when on the streets.
The issue of homeless will be debated as per usual before and after Christmas with some people saying that we don't actually need the crisis open event which has been held now for 33 years with this coming one being the 34th. I have been a guest and I am now a volunteer at Christmas. My opinion of the event is that if it was not needed why would 1500 hundred homeless people come along to it? This figure does include a number of hidden homeless which means people that live in B and B's and hostels.
My own first Christmas was not one I remember too much about as I was doing a cold turkey instead of eating one. As turkey was not on my menu that year. My second was really remarkable as everyone that helped me the year before remembered my name and I didn't feel like a statistic that was having to be moved from one place to another as I had all year long. The open Christmas is not only about talking to homeless people and getting them clean clothing or getting them to see doctor. It's about that first point of contact. Which in many day centers you do not get because to see anyone you often have to queue and many homeless people do not make that contact because they know from past experience they become just a face and a statistic. Whispers I hear from certain quarters about things at Christmas being predictable and preventable make me so angry because my first point of real human contact was at a crisis open Christmas and I wouldn't be where I am now if that had not happened. To me crisis is not just the seven days of being a human being again. Crisis open Christmas is the gateway to much, much more
Oh and yes we still need volunteers for the night shift. contact crisis.org.uk