Homelessness is a very real part of our society. You will find homeless people sleeping on the streets, in old vacant buildings in any neighbourhood, no matter how affluent or rundown the neighbourhood.
The age old myth that only poor people are homeless is untrue. Professional people have found themselves become homeless due to unforeseen circumstances.
According to the charity, Shelter, there are 320,000 homeless people in Britain. Homelessness doesn’t always mean people sleeping on the street. A person is regarded as homeless if they do not have a legal right to occupy the space they live in.
A large number of people in Britain are couch-surfing on the sofas of family and friends, sharing a bedroom with other people or squatting in rundown buildings. They may have a roof over their heads but they do not have the legal occupancy of that space.
In this post we will be exploring ways of how to support homeless people, especially through the cold winter months.
Ways to Support the Homeless
What to do when you see a homeless person in danger – as temperatures plummet during winter, if you come across a homeless person in danger, suffering from the cold weather, make contact with your Local Authority or a homeless charity. They will be able to support them by referring them to the correct agencies. It is everyone’s duty to protect vulnerable people around them, click here for further information.
Donate warm clothing and bedding – with the onset of winter, we find the need to delve into our winter wardrobe pulling warm hats, scarves, socks, jackets and coats. It is always good to donate any extra warm clothes to a charity for the homeless. They are always very grateful for these items which they distribute to the homeless people. Blankets and warm clothing are gratefully received by the homeless and an ideal means to keep them warm during the winter.
Donate food to soup kitchens – soup kitchens and homeless shelters are always grateful for food, sometimes this is the only means through which the homeless can access food. We may find we have cooked more than we need, instead of putting the extra food into the recycling waste you could offer it to the homeless charities, especially if you have over catered for an office party of during the Christmas holidays.
Stop and greet the homeless person – many homeless people find themselves socially isolated and lonely. They find the loss of their home means people stop talking to them. A greeting and a short conversation asking them how they are, is a great way in alleviating loneliness.
Offer a hot cup of tea – you can offer to buy the homeless person or a rough sleeper a cup of tea or coffee. This would be great of helping them to warming up during the winter days.
Support a local homeless charity – we can all offer our time to support the homeless charities leading on campaigns which would bring more attention and funding to the cause of homelessness. We can help raise money through campaigns, help shelters and charities prepare winter packages of clothing, food and health products, providing essentials for the homeless, supporting them through the winter period.
Homeless people suffer the loss of a permanent home as well as the warmth, comfort and the pleasures that come with a home. They also suffer from the loss of friends and family as they lose contact with them, their health suffers too as they live in cold temperatures developing numerous respiratory diseases.
The lack of permanence and a space that they can legally call their own is detrimental to their well-being. The loss of a home has a devastating impact on their mental and emotional health, psychological and social well-being. As fellow humans, we should do our best in supporting the homeless, placed in dire circumstances through no fault of their own.