Homelessness charity founder dies
The founder of a charity for the homeless supported by the construction and property industry has died at the age of 89.
Tony Denison started the charity CRASH in 1991 – registered in 1996 - to improve properties used for homeless people, such as hostels, day centres and night shelters.
Companies and individuals in the property and construction industry donate their skills, products and money to projects.
CRASH chief executive Francesca Roberts said: ‘[Tony] was absolutely ahead of his time in pioneering what is now referred to as the Big Society concept.
‘He saw precisely how an industry could be brought together to share the very thing it is best at in order to help vulnerable people.’
Mr Denison was ‘always focussed and inspiring, but so modest about the unique charity he had created and all it has achieved’, Ms Roberts added.
He started the charity after going to a ballet gala with his wife Ann and seeing many homeless people on the streets in the snow.
‘I thought this really is obscene and that the construction industry ought to be capable of making a contribution to alleviate these conditions, as an industry that puts roofs over people’s heads,’ he told the Guardian newspaper in 2002.
With vast experience in the construction industry he called company bosses and after a few weeks of his theatre visit, two cold-weather shelters for rough sleepers opened in central London.
Since then, thousands of homeless people have been saved from sleeping rough on the streets across the UK by CRASH.
Mr Denison stepped down as a trustee of the charity in 2002 but continued his charitable work with a homelessness charity close to his home in the South Downs near Chichester, where he lived in retirement with his wife.