LOCAL homelessness charity Emmaus Oxford is starting the year off with a £57,000 boost from Oxfordshire Freemasons to help people who have been homeless move into permanent homes.
Funded entirely by Freemasons and their families, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country.
The £57,000 grant is going towards Emmaus Oxford’s Resettlement Support Fund, which is available to former rough sleepers in temporary accommodation across Oxfordshire. The charity will provide packages of household goods and furniture to people so they can furnish more permanent homes, all free of charge.
Eddie Blaze, Chief Executive at Emmaus Oxford, said:
“Since the start of the pandemic, Emmaus Oxford has seen more demand for our homelessness services whilst income from our charity store dropped significantly. As the year begins with a new national lockdown and we have once again closed our store, this exceptionally generous grant is more important to us than ever.
“Our Resettlement Support Fund will help people to move on with their lives for the better and minimise the expense and stress of moving without many belongings. We are inviting all agencies across Oxfordshire who are supporting former rough sleepers in temporary accommodation to apply for this support today. On behalf of everyone at Emmaus Oxford, I would like to say a huge thank you to Oxfordshire Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Fund.”
Having donated £1m between April and July 2020 to help those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, Freemasons are now focusing on protecting the homeless, with a new series of donations in England and Wales, totalling £850,000.
Emmaus communities in 12 locations across the UK, including the Emmaus in Cowley, Oxford, are among the organisations being prioritised by the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), which is the governing body for Freemasons in England and Wales.
Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of UGLE, said:
“We are expecting a harsh winter this year and so it’s essential to protect and support the homeless. Hundreds die every year on our streets during the winter, which is a shocking statistic, and due to the pandemic, many vulnerable people have found themselves on the streets for the first time.
“In this second phase of donations, following our initial contributions during the COVID-19 crisis, we have donated the largest part of the funding towards helping the homeless. We hope this will provide those in need with somewhere safe to stay during winter but also offer them more long-term help to get off the streets and into secure accommodation.”
The funds raised by Freemasons will help provide safe living conditions, healthcare, meals, and employment opportunities for the homeless; as well as helping protect them from the winter weather, which kills hundreds of homeless people every year. In addition, Freemasons will be volunteering their time at 26 homeless support organisations.
This is just the start of phase two of the Freemasons’ donations, and later this month UGLE will announce the next round of donation packages and charitable initiatives. To find out more about the Freemasons’ Charity and UGLE, visit ww.mcf.org.uk/
Emmaus Oxford is now accepting online referrals to its Resettlement Support Fund. Visit www.emmaus.org.uk/oxford to find out more.