The Y-Foundation (Finland)
England has around 250,000 people living on the streets or in temporary accommodation, which mostly happens due to being widowed/divorced, eviction, mental health/addiction problems or escaping abuse. Our chilly climate means people are at risk of freezing on cold nights. Yet councils install ‘spikes’ to stop them sleeping on park benches or in bus shelters. Contact Streetlink (links to authorities and hostels). Concerned about a homeless person? Contact Streetlink (links to authorities & hostels).
How to Help Dogs of Homeless People
It’s heartbreaking to see homeless people with beloved dogs sleeping on the streets. It’s best not to judge, as often people on the streets rescue dogs who are homeless too. Here are ways to help:
- Buy Christmas cards from Dotty Dog Art (profits help street dogs)
- Knit squares (or donate dog coats/sweaters) to help street dogs
- Dog’s Trust Hope Project (free vet cards and list of hostels)
- Jeevshakti Foundation (make waterproof reflective dog beds)
- Read The Little Book of Bob (life wisdom from a street cat who was taken in as an injured moggy by a homeless addict, which changed both lives).
- DOTS, Street Vet & Street Paws (free vet care to street dogs). Similar charities abroad are Pets of the Homeless (US), Pets of the Homeless & Pets in the Park (Australia).
Alternative Homes for Homeless People
- The Y-Foundation (Finland) is ending homelessness by creating thousands of apartments (with shared outdoor space, bike storage and access to public transport). It partners with M2-Kodit to offer light airy homes near peaceful lakes and beaches, with modern appliances, underfloor heating and ventilation. The homes have low bills, free wi-fi and a system to report faults.
- Solo Haus is a modular home built in 15 days (lasts 60 years) then is built then delivered to stand on unused land. Used in London and Cambridgeshire, each house is light and airy with £5 a week electric costs, and includes a fitted kitchen, modern bathroom, lounge/diner and crockery, cutlery, bedding, towels and TV. The homes are wheelchair-accessible (apart from blocks with upstairs apartments – all have secure windows and fire exits).
- Sleep Pod is an insulated tent (costs £25) for a good night’s sleep and is easy to carry. Sheltersuit is made from upcycled textiles, opens up into a sleeping bag then folds into a duffel bag (the hood shields face from rain/street lights).
- ShowerBox offers a free secure shower to homeless people, to keep healthy and attend interviews. Laundry services are also offered by many volunteers, to wash/dry clothes and blankets.
- Buses 4 Homeless turns unused buses into homes with sleep pods, kitchen/diners, learning spaces and a wellness centre.Milton Keynes bus station (Buckinghamshire), is being revamped into an overnight hotel, with beds (and showers) for up to 18 people.
Alternative Ways to Donate to Homeless People
- Beam (London) crowdfunds donations to fund (vetted) homeless people for training and jobs (each person tells you how they ended up homeless and what their passions are). Creating bricklayers and beauticians from former addicts, 70% of recipients sustain regular work for at least 6 months.
- Camden Routes (London) and Safer Off The Streets (Peterborough) are run by local churches. Report a homeless person, then volunteers find hostels (including for dogs) and help sort out benefits.
- Greater Change (Oxford) receives notifications of homeless people. Pooled donations help with clothing, interviews etc.
- Green Pastures and Hope into Action buy properties (funded by local churches investing with them, instead of the stock market). They then rent out at low cost to homeless people, so they have a stable base to find work and long-term accommodation.
- Emmaus shops gives jobs to homeless people, who restore donated furniture. Founded by Catholic priest Abbe Pierre, after a homeless baby froze to death (and a woman was found dead on Paris streets, clutching her eviction notice).