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Crisis warns of Christmas beds shortage if final building not found

Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people, has warned that unless it can find a building to house its final Crisis at Christmas centre it will be left 150 beds short, potentially leaving people out in the cold.

Crisis at Christmas runs from Wednesday 23 December to Wednesday 30 December and welcomes more 2,500 homeless and vulnerably housed guests. The centres provide companionship and support to alleviate loneliness and isolation and help people to take their first steps out of homelessness.

More than 8,000 volunteers will help run nine centres across London which also offer training and education opportunities. Eight centres are already in place, hosted by academies and colleges to provide an inspirational environment. Due to last minute withdrawals, one building remains to be found.

The charity is calling on businesses or individuals to offer empty buildings over the Christmas period, ideally in East or South East London, the City or SE1.

Crisis can utilise a wide range of buildings from office blocks to public buildings. A space between 20,000 and 60,000 sq ft is required.

"Though we have managed to secure eight buildings for Crisis at Christmas 2010, we are still one short," says Mick Bateman, head of Crisis at Christmas.

"Our fear is that without this last building we will be 150 beds short of our target, and unable to accommodate many who desperately need a bed over Christmas."

Crisis will handle all utility costs, planning and insurance issues and will return buildings in the same state (and often better) as when inherited.

Landlords who can help should contact Mick Bateman on on 07738 149701 or email

As well as shelters providing overnight accommodation Crisis also runs a series of day centres. The City of London Academy in Bermondsey will be hosting a Crisis day centre for the second year running.

• The Crisis Carol Service will be held at Southwark Cathedral on Saturday 11 December

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