Charities helping Huddersfield’s homeless have promised to make it easier to help vulnerable people on the streets.
Volunteers and charity staff attended a packed meeting on Wednesday, March 29, in response to the tragic premature death of Roxanne Davis, 28, who had been sleeping rough in Huddersfield.
Roxanne, known as Roxy, died earlier this month after contracting pneumonia along with a pre-existing health condition.
Her aunt, Pat Clay Davis, moved many to tears in a speech about Roxy.
She described Roxy as a “very special girl” who was too proud to ask for help.
“Roxy had her problems for a long time since being 16.
“The stuff that she had to live with, we tried our hardest but she was too proud, she wanted to do things herself, in her own way.
“I personally feel like I failed her and I know there’s other people who feel the same way. There are people who want to go home and want to be normal again but they are too proud.
“I don’t want anyone else to feel how I feel today.”
Pat, 37, from Barnsley, said no-one ever envisaged becoming homeless.
“None of them wanted to grow up to be that person. They are somebody’s little girl or boy. Someone was once proud of them, for walking their first step or their first day at school.”
She added: “Anything that you can do, anything at all, just do what you can, even if it only gets one person off the streets to have a fulfilling life with love and peace.”
Dave Kennedy, of Huddersfield Change Project, which works with rough sleepers, said the overall aim was to “eradicate homelessness in our town”.
Paul Bridges, of Huddersfield Mission, which operates a cafe and advice sessions, said members of the public could play a key role in helping vulnerable people on the streets.
“People ask how they can help and if they should give money (to a homeless person). We don’t want to say you should or shouldn’t. But if you buy one of our ‘meal deal’ vouchers you can give it someone in need.
“They can exchange it in the cafe. It will help us find out who is in need.”
The meeting at the Jubilee Centre in Paddock also heard from representatives of other organisations, among them Simon on the Streets, The Welcome Centre, The Elim Church, One Big Family and Bread of Life.
He added: “Never forget these people (who are homeless) are human beings and need to be treated in a very gentle way.”