It’s cold inside for us this year but it’s far colder for those sleeping on the streets.

If you’re the kind of person who wants to dig in and help out, well we like you already. With such a gargantuan issue sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Team More Housing will be actioning these tips below, so have a read through them and see what works for you, then let us know how you get on. We love to meet like minded people.

Get involved with the charity Crisis

Whilst Crisis gives year round support, they’re naturally busier during the colder months. Because homelessness tends to be more widely reported on during this time too, it’s more on the public’s minds to search and see how they can help. Fortunately, if you head to their website here you’ll see their ‘Crisis at Christmas’ information. Tap in your postcode and see how you can help.

Last year, with the help of many supporters and 1,860 dedicated volunteers, they provided hotel accommodation, hub services, food and wellbeing packs for around 2,000 people who were experiencing homelessness last Christmas. Then, at multiple locations across the UK, their volunteers worked together to provide companionship, support and a wide range of vital services. Onwards from the Christmas season, they have year-round campaigns to help the homeless.

Shop with Amazon and help the homeless

Larger companies often have more means to help homeless charities. If you’re doing your shopping on Amazon, for example, click on Amazon Smile and for every purchase you make, they will make a donation to a charity of your choice, at no extra cost to you. Waitrose and Tescos both have a token based system for donations, so shop wisely and help out at the same time.

Give respectfully

There seems to be a stigma generated with giving people on the streets money, The assumption is that it will be spent on alcohol or drugs. However, the easy way around this is not to give money but to give food or water. Remember that a hot tea or coffee – ask what they’d like – might be their only source of warmth to warm their hands on that day. So give, just be more specific. Cherry, our writer bought homeless people lunch, hot sausage rolls and upon asking them first, found out that one lady was a vegetarian. Worth asking. Also, you might be surprised to find out what they really need. When asking another time, Cherry wasn’t asked for money, she was asked for a toothbrush and toothpaste. So simple and yet your kindness can mean the world to them.

Provide pet food

How many homeless people do you walk past whose dog is shaking and looks hungry? Well, their pet needs to eat too. Check your cupboards and grab a few spare tins or buy some kibble for them. Bear in mind that they will need a can opener and might not have the ability to carry large amounts around, however if the homeless person and their faithful friend come as a team they deserve to eat together too.

Have a good chat

Don’t just walk on by. Stop, talk and listen. You might be surprised to find out why they are on the streets. Perhaps it’s out of choice or perhaps it’s not. What were they doing before it, are they happy? What do they like and wish for? Those who are homeless are human – they don’t need judgement they need kindness and a friendly ear. Go one step further and make sure that you’ve Googled where the local food banks and shelters are – there are many new care centres popping up across the country and it might be that without access to the internet someone who is homeless might not have heard of them or know where they are. Being able to talk to them and direct them on is essential.

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