Courageous team set to brave winter weather for night of rough sleeping

Crowds will gather in our car park on Saturday 18 January to erect cardboard shelters and spend the night sleeping rough.

It’s in a bid to raise money and support for two Kent-based homelessness charities, Porchlight and One Big Family – Helping the Homeless, as well as shedding light on what it’s like to be without a home for a night.

Almost 100 people will swap their beds for boxes and will spend 12 hours in what is currently forecast to be a cold night.

Records show the mhs homes Big Sleep Out first launched in 1997, in line with the National Homelessness Day, then marked in January. Since then, we’ve hosted a Big Sleep Out every other year and have raised thousands of pounds for various homelessness charities.


"2020 marks our 14th Big Sleep Out. Whilst doing the sleep out for one night only provides a superficial experience of being without a home, it is not hard to imagine how deeply unsettling, incredibly unsafe and utterly lonely it is. We want to cast a spotlight on the very real and devastating impacts that homelessness can have, we all need to work to end homelessness. It is vital that we help fundraise for charities such as Porchlight and One Big Family, so they can continue to tackle homelessness and provide support to those that need it most"Ashley Hook, Chief Executive at mhs homes.


This year’s sleep out has so far raised just over £4,700, but we expect that to increase heavily in the week running up to the event itself. All of the money raised will be split equally between two Kent-based homelessness charities, Porchlight and One Big Family.

Porchlight operates across Kent, supporting people who are homeless or at risk of becoming so. Last year, it worked with more than 7,000 individuals and families.


"Nobody should be homeless, but right now hundreds of people are sleeping rough in Kent and the support of organisations like mhs homes means we can be there for everyone that needs us. We’d like to thank everyone taking part in the Big Sleep Out – not only for raising money that will help save lives, but also for spending the night outside to get a better understanding of the challenges that homeless people face every day" - Porchlight spokesperson Chris Thomas


One Big Family – Helping the Homeless is based in Medway and runs soup kitchens, provides hot food, drinks, clothing, toiletries and bedding.


"One Big Family are thrilled to have been chosen to receive money from mhs’ Big Sleep Out in 2020 - as a small charity, currently run entirely by passionate volunteers, we rely on the generosity of those in Medway to sustain our work. Our Homeless Emergency Winter Refuge in Chatham is now in it's third year, and the money raised will be used to help finance this facility - over the previous two winters we have provided over 2,000 beds (and ongoing support) to the homeless in Medway, so it is a much needed service”, said founder, Elizabeth Shaw.


They also do regular outreach work and help to signpost people to other organisations and agencies. 

There's still time to sign up and take part in the sleep out, or you can support by donating money - thank you.