Birmingham Muslims are providing beds for the city’s homeless community throughout the coming freezing months.
From Monday (Jan 6), rough sleepers will be able to bunk down safely in a central location for as long as the cold snap lasts as reported by Birmingham Live.
For the first time, Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre (GLMCC), Muslim Aid and the As-Suffa Institute have pooled their resources, fundraising and expertise to tackle the homeless problem blighting our streets.
A large rota of volunteers from city mosques will be spending time away from their families so they run the unit on Lionel Street for up to 25 men, until March.
Kamran Hussain, from GLMCC in Small Heath, said: “The problem of homelessness is increasing in the Midlands and the UK. We are now reaching crisis levels with people dying on the streets.
“It’s important that faith and community groups do their part to help those in need. As an Islamic faith institute, we are required to take care of the poor and less fortunate.
“Many organisations don’t have the capacity to run a project as large as this. This requires finances, a huge volunteer base and a lot of organisation and coordination.
“By getting together it doesn’t put the hardship of running such a project onto one single organisation.
“By housing the homeless, we will create a safe place for them and give them a little relief from their harsh lives.
“We will also have people who work with the homeless, to provide advice on how they can get themselves off the streets.”
Mr Hussain said the users would be provided with the help needed to get off the streets.
“We hope to get a number of the homeless into permanent accommodation. Many of the homeless find it hard to navigate through the benefits system to get access to financial support or housing.
“Last year, through our project at Green Lane, we managed to get about 10 people into housing, which was a huge achievement.”
In 2018, 23 homeless people died in the city – the highest in the country and an increase of 18 deaths from the previous year.
As-Suffa has hosted a four day soup kitchen since 2012 and a night shelter during the cold weather since 2016.
Altaf Kazi, Muslim Aid’s Head of UK Programmes said: “God reminds us repeatedly to feed and look after the poor and needy. As Muslims we must fulfil our obligations.
“The Prophet Muhammad (peace & blessings of God be upon him) said ‘He is not a believer whose stomach is full while the neighbour to his side goes hungry.’”