City IT firm helps charity put homelessness to bed

Birmingham IT firm, Kalamazoo, are going lo-tech in cardboard shelters as part of a charity initiative that offers hope to hundreds of homeless across the city.

Kalamazoo staff will take on the Big Birmingham Sleepout challenge tonight (29th November), in support of St. Basils, a charity and housing association that provides accommodation and support services to homeless young people aged 16-25yrs.

The historic IT company, with a 130-year history in Birmingham, entered a charity partnership with St Basils in June, vowing to support their events and raise as much as possible throughout the year to help further the charity’s vital support services.

Rod Taylor, Kalamazoo IT’s Managing Director said: “Walking around Birmingham city centre we witness first-hand the amount of people sleeping rough. Through our support of St Basils and the incredible work they do, we hope to have a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable young people who find themselves in a dire situation, without a stable home.

“The Big Sleepout is a brilliant idea, giving people a taste of the reality for those who sleep out night after night in all weathers. Without St Basils, there would be far more young people coping with this situation.

“If we can help in some small way by putting ourselves in that situation for one night, it’s more than worth our temporary discomfort.”

During the course of a year, St Basils house over 1000 young people in Birmingham and over 1500 across the West Midlands in their 34 supported accommodation schemes, plus they help thousands more young people with face to face support and advice.

Due to government cuts they rely heavily on fundraising activities to ensure their services can continue to be made available to those in need.

Sian Dhillon, Business and Communities Executive for St Basils said: “We are delighted that a firm as prestigious as Kalamazoo has agreed to make us their charity of choice to support.

“The stereotypes of homelessness can all too quickly attach themselves to young people and trap them in a cycle of homelessness and on a restrictive pathway.

“We want young people who come to St Basils to have the opportunity to develop a different narrative; to have the safety, security and support to visualise a brighter future and to develop the confidence, skills and resilience they’ll need to make that better future a reality.

“Every penny raised by Kalamazoo will go towards improving the lives of young people in the West Midlands.”