Britain’s outburst of cold weather is proving to be deadly for homeless people.
Emergency shelters have been opened around the UK to allow councils to offer extra accommodation for people living on the streets.
A report released recently has described homelessness in England as a ‘national crisis’.
‘Rough sleeping is harmful and dangerous, but when temperatures drop, lives are at risk,’ said Petra Salva, director of outreach services at St Mungo’s, a charity that works to help the homeless.
‘It’s vital that we get help to people quickly so we can save lives.’
More than 9,000 people are sleeping rough on the streets and over 78,000 households, including 120,000 children, are homeless and living in temporary accommodation, often of a poor standard, said the Public Accounts Committee.
With thousands of people expected to be on the streets during the cold period, there are plenty of ways that you can help them.
Download the Streetlink app
Streetlink has been hailed for tackling homelessness by allowing users to download an app that provides direct help for homeless people.
If a person is worried about a rough sleeper, they can use the Streetlink app to alert a centralised team.
Once the alert is received by Streetlink, they’ll then send someone out to provide some vital support.
The latter is asking for £26 donations, which will cover the cost of a place in a shelter for one person.
All donations are currently being accepted at shelter stores across the UK. You can find your local store here.
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Give them your time, and a cup of tea
It’s one of the most straightforward ways to help – buy a hot drink and a snack for a homeless person and stop for a few minutes to give them your time.
Although a simple idea, Crisis director Matt Downie recently claimed that ‘A bit of human contact could make a huge difference.’
Once more, it’s the gift of time – and your efforts could make all the difference.
Specifically, Crisis are asking for help in centres across the UK, and you can find them here.
National database site Do It has thousands of listings across the UK for you to apply and help.