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Hidden homelessness is often missing from the conversation when it comes to national press coverage and fundraising campaigns. But SIFA Fireside, the Birmingham support service for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, is addressing this issue out in the open.

They have partnered with One Black Bear, the city’s leading independent creative agency, to launch a compelling “Most Homeless People Remain Hidden” campaign.

Rough sleeping is undeniably a more recognisable aspect of homelessness and is often quite rightly the subject of several fundraising campaigns across the country. However, individuals who are sofa-surfing and living in squats are often hidden from homelessness statistics as well as being hidden from plain sight. For example, since April 2023, SIFA Fireside has supported 540 people who have experienced rough sleeping. In this time, they have also supported 2,437 people living in hidden homelessness.

Founded in the 1980s, SIFA Fireside has long been dedicated to supporting adults experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness in Birmingham. Their Support Centre, located in Digbeth, serves as the city’s central hub for adults without a place to call home, offering a range of responsive services, including health clinics, housing advice and financial planning, as well as hot meals, showers and clean clothing.

Commenting on the campaign, Melissa Roche, Head of Fundraising, Volunteering and Communications at SIFA Fireside said: “Raising funds is of vital importance to us so that we can keep our Support Centre open and accessible to those that need it most but this is about education too. Having a temporary roof over your head doesn’t mean that you no longer need support and it’s up to us to stand by individuals while they rebuild their lives in safety and with dignity.”

Melissa continued; “This thought-provoking pro-bono campaign that One Black Bear have created for us will make people stop and think, before making their donation to support our essential work.”

Jon Harrison, Co-founder and Creative Partner at One Black Bear, added: “Homelessness is an issue that Birmingham deals with better than most other European cities. This is thanks to the sterling work carried out by local charities, such as SIFA Fireside who work tirelessly to support those most in need. This is a subject that has been very close to the agency’s heart for years and we’re proud to donate our creative expertise to help these wonderful organisations continue to help others.”

Through the generous continued support of leading media company, Ocean Outdoor, top-quality OOH advertising space has been donated to spread this important message across the city and make the issue more visible.

To make a difference in the lives of people experiencing both rough sleeping and hidden homelessness, the public is encouraged to support the campaign by visiting

Here, individuals can donate and play their part in addressing homelessness in Birmingham and ensure that support is available to all those who need it.

Robb Sheppard