What can I do to help homeless people?
It’s heart-warming to see the offers of help that 20-year-old Jimmy Thoronka, the Sierra Leone athlete who became homeless in the UK, has received. Since his story became public, he’s had generous offers from kind members of the public, ranging from clothes and money to a home next to a running track that he can train on.
We already know the public really want to help homeless people. Homelessness is a terrible experience for anyone to go through, and on the whole people are sympathetic and ready to lend a hand.
However, when most people think of homelessness, they only think of people sleeping on the streets. Though rough sleeping is the most visible form of homelessness, it’s not the only one.
In fact, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Due to our housing crisis, there are thousands of hidden homeless individuals, families and children, many of whom have been forced to ‘sofa surf’ or live in temporary accommodation – they’re stuck in cramped hostels and B&Bs, without any idea of when they might find a real, permanent home.
There is plenty you can do to help the homeless people you do see on the street, and we have lots of advice on this. But your power to help homeless people extends far beyond individual actions and encounters. If you want to end homelessness for good, for all homeless people, then campaign with Shelter.
Homelessness, like poverty, is not an accidental phenomenon. There are huge, structural problems behind it; for example, the shortage of affordable homes in the UK. With our campaigns, we demand big-picture changes and an end to homelessness for good, and we won’t stop until there’s a home for everyone.
Shelter tackles all aspects of the housing crisis, from getting more affordable homes built to fixing private renting, and making sure there is a strong housing safety net ready to help us back on our feet when we need it.
So if you want to do something to help homeless people, support Shelter’s campaigns. The bigger our supporter community, the more powerful we are – and the closer we’ll all be to ending homelessness together.