A MAN dubbed the 'face of homelessness in Dudley' has been given a roof over his head thanks to a big-hearted charity.

Charlie Jenks has been a regular fixture outside the Churchill Shopping Centre for the past two years and over this time has been supported by the Giving Hands Mission.

His need for a home was thrown into sharp focus last weekend, when his belongings, including the tent he sleeps in, was set on fire. 

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Thankfully Charlie was not in the tent at the time, but the near miss sparked the team at the Giving Hands Mission to help.

Rev George Peter from Giving Hands, said: "He was in danger, if he was in the tent he would have been burned. This was an emergency.

"I didn't want to be in the position to look back and think 'we could have done more'. We had to take action."

Last Monday (September 9) George contacted Dudley Council about Charlie's situation and then set to work to find a private rented property for Charlie to live in.

By Wednesday, George had found a home close to Dudley town centre and the housing team at the council paid for the deposit.

That night Charlie had a bed to sleep in for the first time in years, a moment he was 'so excited' about, according to George.

The team have given him a mobile phone so they can keep in touch and help him in his journey to independence, along with essential living items and furniture.

Now, the Giving Hands Mission are continuing to accept donations to help Charlie and other vulnerable people and families.

The Brierley Hill based charity is run solely by volunteers and supports people across the borough by offering practical help such food, school uniforms and housing, and earlier this year opened the The Churchill Giving Hands Project in the Churchill shopping centre in Dudley to expand their work.

George added: "Charlie has been the face of homelessness in Dudley.

"If Charlie can be sorted, there's hope for everyone."

Anyone wishing to donate to the Mission should drop off the items at The Churchill Giving Hands Project shop in the Churchill Shopping Centre.