By Amneet Kaur
The founder of a charity for the homeless is appealing for more support from local authorities across the Midlands – and claims they won’t help because they don’t want to admit there is a problem.
Vi Wood, founder of Leslie’s Care Packages (LCP), said plenty of councillors in Dudley signpost people to her charity but no real support is provided despite promises from them and MPs.
The 59-year-old from Stourbridge set up the charity following her own experience being homeless after the death of her husband Les.
She believes if officals agree to help her, it would mean admitting there is a problem.
“I just had to give up a unit which I used to have for storage, because Dudley Council can’t let me have it for cheap anymore,” Vi said.
“People are so kind and I get so many donations but I don’t know where to put them anymore,” Vi said.
“Because I’m only a small fish they don’t bother, but LCP does more work, we help more people than anyone else because I actually do the action, I don’t just talk about it I go out there and help. I also raise awareness and I try to open people’s eyes on how it is like to be homeless.”
Vi’s dream is to have a community centre combined with a charity shop built in Stourbridge, where they can advise people and signpost them if needed.
She believes it could help many people, being located between Dudley and Halesowen, but after proposing it to Dudley Council she struggled to get anybody to sponsor or invest in it.
She added: “What upsets me is that they are talking about cutbacks, because they have no money but then I was reading the other day they are willing to spend £650,000 to restore the bar in the Town Hall in Dudley.
“I think £650,000 just to refurbish a bar? Can you imagine what that money could do to families or homeless people that need help?
“A lot of people have got no one to turn to and I didn’t at the time when I was in that situation. I didn’t know who to turn to, I had nobody, I had to sit here and cry everyday and be angry and upset. I want to help people not to have to go through that, I know I can’t save the world, but I can help one person at the time.”
According to figures released in November by charity Shelter, more than 1,500 people were recorded as homeless in the Black Country, Staffordshire and Wyre Forest.