A GROUP which works to combat homelessness in Pembrokeshire is expanding its horizons, and asking people to be aware of the issue even in rural areas.

The Pembrokeshire Homeless Community Crisis Intervention Team (PHCCIT), formerly known as Homeless Pembrokeshire, has just opened an office at 31-33 High Street, Haverfordwest.

The group was set up on Facebook in November last year, with founder Amanda Evans asking people living in Pembrokeshire to help her knit hats and gloves which could be given out to rough sleepers in cities over the winter.

“We are refining what we do so it runs more smoothly,” said Amanda. “We are getting a lot more referrals for help and we will be building up a support network.”

The group was run out of Amanda’s home in Crundale, with donations of food and hygiene products as well as emergency rough sleeper packs filling up every extra inch of space in the house.

Phil Collins, who runs PHCCIT alongside Amanda, said the group needed a new, central base as they were finding more and more people are in need of help.

“We could not be in this position without the generosity of our donors: friends, family and supporting agencies,” he added.

The non-profit group is being as transparent as it can about funding, and has openly stated it pays £160 rent a month as well as phone and internet bills.

This funding has been provided by Phil, but the group is always in need of donations, and gives suggestions of what to buy in an Amazon wish list.

Rural areas like Pembrokeshire often have a hidden homelessness issue, and a recent trend is sofa-surfing.

This is when people do not have a fixed address of their own and live with friends or family members, sleeping on a sofa or in a spare room.

But the team has also helped rough sleepers in the county too, who are often not as visible as homeless people living in cities.

“If you talk to homeless people, they say they go to cities because they are safe. They are in light and they know they can get help,” said Phil.

“What we have is that people who don’t like the cities, who feel turned off by the city street lifestyle, they often go somewhere quiet and secluded and transition into the community when they want to.”

PHCCIT is expecting to start seeing more people in need of help coming its way due to winter pressures and the introduction of Universal Credit in Pembrokeshire.

Visit the Pembrokeshire Homeless Community Crisis Intervention Team (Homeless Pembs) Facebook page if you are interested in volunteering or donating.