A volunteer group marched through Leeds to raise awareness for the rising numbers of deaths of homeless people on the streets.
By Lauren Halligan and Rebecca Tee
On International Human Rights Day 2018, volunteer group Community Kitchen met with supporters at City Square to begin their peaceful protest through the city centre.
The group were aiming to raise awareness for the lack of support and emergency accommodation there is for homeless people across the country.
This year The Guardian revealed that the deaths of homeless people in the UK have more than doubled in the past 5 years.
We spoke to a volunteer, he said “the numbers are going up all the time, we have got to do something about it just to raise awareness”.
Gaz Mack and Jessica Cusworth, the organisers of the protest gave a moving speech to the crowd of supporters, some who were homeless themselves. Gaz stated “Homeless people have the same human rights as everyone else”.
“Give a voice to the voiceless”, “No more deaths on our streets” and “Shame on you LCC” (Leeds City Council), were some of the chants used by the group as they marched, escorted by police, up Boar Lane and through Briggate.
As always, money is an issue. One of the groups main concerns is where the council is prioritising their spending. “The authorities seem to have enough money going around from the government and they seem to give organisations quite a bit of money.
There is LeedsBid at the moment, they’ve raised £25,000, we want to know where that money is going. We feel it’s being diverted away from grass root organisation like ourselves.” said a volunteer from Community Kitchen.
With six luxury student accommodation buildings currently being worked on, the space for emergency housing is needed now more than ever.