How to help the homeless this winter
by Holly T.
December 09, 2022
4 MIN READ
Many of us right now may feel like we are freezing at home whilst we try and avoid turning the heating on… but we still have a roof over our head and a warm bed to sleep in.
Whilst we get excited for Christmas and maybe have a few mulled wines, homeless people are facing blistery winter weather in the midst of a cost of living crisis. The money they do get, doesn’t get them as far as it used to and homelessness is rising.
How can we help?
It can be really hard to know what to do when we see people sleeping rough. With StreetLink you can let them know about someone who is sleeping on the streets and a member from a local outreach service or authority will help give them the support they need. If you think the person is under 18, please call the police directly.
Donate Hygiene Products
It’s very easy to take basic personal hygiene products for granted as they are so integrated in our lives. Imagine if you couldn’t brush your teeth daily. The Hygiene Bank have drop off points all over the UK and help distribute over 800,000 products to charities and schools.
Why not volunteer your time
There will be a lot of local shelters or charities that need an extra hand over winter. You can help dish out dinner or they are always after different skills to help make someone’s Christmas. You can also donate to Crisis At Christmas (in London) or our friends at The Felix Project to give back this Christmas.
Have a chat
It can be incredibly lonely sleeping rough and this can put a great strain on people’s mental health. Always walk by the same person sleeping rough? Why not buy them a hot drink and have a chat with them next time. Buy a Big Issue (helps homeless people have financial independence and get them back on their own two feet) and have a chat with them. They are often standing out in the cold for hours, with no one ever chatting to them.
Have a coat you don’t want anymore? Or do you get a new one every year? Why not donate your old coats to a local coat drive who distribute them to the homeless. They get these coats to those who need it most. In London there is Calling London or Wrap Up scheme available.
A bit short on time? Why not donate to help secure someone a Christmas dinner which also includes a bed, shower and health check up with Shelter. Or donate towards our Christmas advent calendar fundraiser for The Felix Project. The Felix Project will deliver 1500 tonnes of good food across London this Christmas, to make 3 million meals for people who would otherwise go hungry over the festive period. The Felix Project rescue good, in-date surplus food that would otherwise go to waste.
The Pavement Magazine
The Pavement Magazine works to keep the homeless community informed about the services and issues affecting them. Where to go get warm food, laundry, as well as where to get legal and medical support. Help spread awareness of the magazine. Or are you a budding journalist and want to write a piece for them?
A night in the warmth
Shelter from the Storm is a free homeless night shelter that provides beds, dinner and breakfast for 38 homeless people every night (London). Open all year round, they provide a warm bed and breakfast, a hot evening meal, showers, laundry, legal help and English lessons for those who need it. You can donate or volunteer to help.
Remember homelessness isn’t just for Christmas! Let’s go beyond winter and help those most vulnerable.
If you have any other ideas, please let us know!