Thaxted Geraldine Burles

Geraldine Burles

England has over 250,000 people registered homeless (this includes people who live on the streets and those living in temporary bed-and-breakfast accommodation. It’s a myth perpetuated by the media that homeless people choose to live this way. Most people fall into homelessness due to falling behind with a few rent or mortgage payments or due to having mental health problems (often after being discharged from the Armed Forces) or other issues like escaping abuse. Being homeless usually means being cold, extremely bored and often scared, especially at night.

First of all, know the basics of how to help homeless people. Homeless people do qualify for benefits and that’s obviously the first step to ensure anyone is getting money they need for food, rent and clothing. Also read ideas on how to help dogs that live on the streets with homeless people.

Homeless people do qualify for benefitsCouncils and shelters can download a free SWEP toolkit to create a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol to set up accommodation for winter (this includes dogs who live with rough sleepers – the best way to help is to find dog-friendly accommodation for humans).

Greater Change goes beyond giving money: notify StreetLink of rough sleepers then local charities can help with benefits, services and accommodation. Billy Chip credits shops with chips that let homeless people redeem for hot drinks.

churches that buy properties to house people

Green Pastures buys properties to house homeless people. The great idea here is that it then asks churches to invest in their upkeep (rather than putting money on the stock market). Jesus would be proud! Residents offer around 10 hours a week help, in return for housing and help to get their lives back together.

a small charity that gives grants to homeless people

Church Homeless Charity is a small charity that offers grants of up to £175 to help individual homeless people, on a journey towards a home of their own. This could help someone move from street sleeping into a hostel, or from temporary digs to a private tenancy with their own front door. The charity receives no funding from government or the Church of England (which does not appear to offer any concrete projects, despite having an income of around £1 billion a year). The Telegraph reports that the church donates just over 5% of income to charitable causes.

a Catholic priest gives jobs to homeless people 

Emmaus has shops nationwide where you can donate furniture, bric-c-brac and white goods. These are restored (and PAT-tested) by homeless people who get a job, training, home and income in return. The charity was founded by Catholic French priest Abbé Pierre, who began his mission after hearing of a baby who had died on the cold Paris streets, and a young woman who froze to death, clutching her eviction notice. Before his death he was awarded France’s highest honour, but refused saying that he would not take medals from governments that treated homeless people so badly.

how the Salvation Army helps homeless people

Salvation Army Rosie Philpott

Rosie Philpott

Everyone’s heard of The Salvation Army, which does wonderful work to help homeless people. You can not only donate unwanted clothes to their many textile banks nationwide, but there are other ways to help. One is to switch your current or bank account to Reliance Bank Ltd (which donates up to 75% profits to help the Salvation Army) and switch insurance to SAGIC (which again donates to the Sally Army). It offers insurance for travel, motor, weddings and carer liability.

As well as offering outreach, addiction and chaplaincy services for homeless people, The Salvation Army also offers Nap Pads, built in partnership with a Lancashire company to provide emergency accommodation in secure homes the size of a shipping container. Each one is built to high specs and safety, and are light and airy, with a window, secure front door, bed, toilet, hand basin and storage area, plus is either connected to mains or has other forms of heating, running water and phone charging. And cost the same each night to run, as a standard domestic lightbulb. They even have sensors to alert people if someone stops breathing (used on technology to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome) so first responders can be alerted.

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