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10 ways to help homeless people this winter

Words by Smiley Team

Supporting homeless people is important all year round. But as the weather starts to get noticeably colder, it’s increasingly vital that everyone stays warm, fed and healthy. We can all help protect lives this winter by ensuring those without a fixed home can access basic necessities.

Volunteering, hosting, catering and donating all help in different ways. However you can best help, every small effort will add up to supporting homeless people to beat the cold this winter. Here are 10 ideas for initiatives to support.

Donate a care package

For those who have more than enough for themselves, a care package can help provide homeless people with the basic essentials they need or maybe something special this Christmas.

Donate via Crisis Kits, Care Pack UK or Homeless Care Package.

Join Shelter’s winter walking challenge

This year homeless charity, Shelter is holding a national Walk for Home. This fundraising challenge will help campaign for a fairer housing system including better private rentals and social housing.

Join Walk for Home here.

Buy the Big Issue or Dope

On the streets of many UK towns or cities, you can see people selling the Big Issue, the world’s leading street newspaper designed to provide rough sleepers with an income and help rebuild their lives. You might also see individuals selling Dope, an insurgent magazine that homeless people can pick up for free to sell. 

Support by buying Dope or The Big Issue

Volunteer at a night shelter

Night shelters come in many different forms and often rely on volunteers to keep them running smoothly. To find services that need help near you, contact your local council.

Find your local night shelter via Shelter.

Support a community kitchen

Volunteers are also in demand to run community kitchens, soup kitchens and food banks across the country. These serve a range of people facing difficult circumstances including homelessness and organise based on a variety of philosophies.

Find your local community kitchen here.

Become a host

By hosting a young homeless person in your home you can offer them tangible, life-changing support. The best way to do so is via organisations that will pair you up with someone who is a good fit for your home.

Host a young homeless person via Nightstop.

Get help for young people via Centrepoint

Support the 29,000 young people at risk of homelessness this winter by referring them to Centrepoint. The charity offers youths tailored accommodation, health support and training to get them back on their feet.

Find out more about Centrepoint here.

Donate to charities tackling homelessness

The UK has a wealth of organisations working to beat homelessness. As well as Shelter, Crisis and St Mungos, you can help homeless people via Centrepoint, or a huge range of more specialised, smaller organisations.

Find a list of UK charities fighting homelessness here.

Refer people to local services via Streetlink

For people over the age of 18 facing homelessness, Streetlink is a vital support line. If you come across someone who you’re worried about, get in touch with the organisation so they can connect the individual to local support services.

Refer someone to Streetlink here.

Call the emergency services

For anyone in danger or who needs urgent help, call 999.

Find more ways to help homeless people here.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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