There are many ways to help the homeless, beyond just throwing money at charities. Most homeless people do not choose to live this way – often caused by being widowed, divorced, ill or escaping abuse. It’s cold, dangerous, boring and most homeless people die age 47 (men) or 43 (women). Streetlink lets you contact authorities or hostels, if you concerned for a homeless person. Also see how to help dogs of homeless people.
The Big Issue is sold nationwide by street vendors, to replace begging (vendors buy it for £1.50 and sell it for £3, choosing a fixed pitch with training, their own work hours and 5 free magazines to start earning immediately). It was founded by John Bird, who was born to an Irish family in a London slum, and had trouble with the law, after becoming homeless. He even went to prison, where he learned about the printing industry, and is now a life peer. The International Network of Street Papers now has a combined readership worldwide of 6 million, thanks to his idea. We recommend not buying the leather goods in the shop, as most is made in countries with poor animal welfare.
A few years back, John was asked to stand by the Conservatives for London Mayor. He refused as he is non-partisan, and the replacement candidate was Boris Johnson, who won. He is a bit subdued now, saying ‘it was not my intention of aiding and abetting that self-appointed historian, to climb the greasy pole of stardom of a political kind. Johnson may be the last of the political dinosaurs. Perhaps a new politics is well within the making’.
Today for Tomorrow is the name of a campaign started by Lord John Bird for a Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill that would make it a legal requirement to put environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing at the forefront of policy. This sounds similar to the Canadian province of Alberta, which has a 10-year plan to end homelessness report.