It’s getting pretty cold out there now & those on the street are going to struggle. Throughout the festive period it is natural to see an increase in good deeds, it’s great you want to help so here’s some quick tips on how you can help the homeless this winter…
1) If you see a person sleeping rough, you can report their whereabouts to Streetlink – http://www.streetlink.org.uk/. They will help connect them to local support.
2) Remember just because someone is homeless they are still human. If you want to buy someone a coffee or sandwich – ask for their preference. Do not assume and then get the hump if they refuse.
3) Even with the very best intentions do not photograph/video/exploit your good deed over social media. Everyone has a story which you don’t know of – plastering people’s faces online is not helpful.
4) Please do not give money; Birmingham in particular is struggling with a spice epidemic. Your loose change could be their last breath.
5) Conversation can be just as important as giving physical items. Being homeless is incredibly lonely – a 2 minute conversation can do a lot.
6) Last year Birmingham had 132 rough sleepers, however there are approx 18,000 ‘homeless’ in the City. A little research and you’ll find multiple opportunities to help this Winter. If you have the time please consider doing so.
7) Ultimately we as members of the public are not experts. We shouldn’t give advice which could be harmless in delivery but harmful in acceptance. If in doubt you can contact a local charity or service for advice here – http://www.homeless.org.uk
8) Volunteer with Operation Drawstring. Contact Kerry Lenihan – firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
9) Finally and most important; wanting to help is great, actually doing something is even better, but please be vigilant. Do not put yourself in danger, avoid large groups, aggressive beggars, poorly lit areas etc.