Posted14.12.16

Quick ways to help the homeless

Four short-term ways you can make a difference in the lives of people who are experiencing homelessness

At Evolve, we are often asked by members of the public what short-term help they can offer homeless people. There are many ways that you can provide immediate help to homeless people in London. Here are four key things you can do to make a difference:

1. Making connections to services:
If you see a rough sleeper you can call Streetlink, (0300 500 0914). Streetlink processes information about rough sleepers and refers them to suitable agencies. Prior to making this call you may want to have a chat with the person. You can even ask if they’re happy to give you their mobile number so they can be contacted more easily by outreach workers. Churches and food banks can often help put you in touch with the right people too.

2. Providing money or food:
Offering a cup of coffee or tea or buying food for a homeless person is a common way of helping. When it comes to offering rough sleepers money, it’s generally thought that donations to homelessness charities in London are a better use of your resources. You might like to create an essentials bag that contains items such as toiletries, a first aid kid, socks, gloves and a hat rather than giving money.

3. Other kinds of donations:
Donate clothing – Next time you do your spring or autumn cleaning, keep an eye out for those clothes that you no longer wear. If these items are in good shape, gather them together and donate them to organisations that provide housing assistance, homeless shelters or services for people who have experienced homelessness in London.

Donate a bag of groceries – Load up a bag full of non-perishable groceries, and donate it to a homelessness charity in your area. It may be helpful beforehand to contact your local food bank, or homeless charities to find out what kind of food donations they would like.

4. Be respectful:
The key thing is to respect homeless people as individuals and remember that the reasons for someone becoming homeless are complex. Respond with kindness. You can make a difference when you respond with a kind word or smile rather than ignoring or dismissing people who are experiencing homelessness.

For more solutions and to discuss ways in which you can help to support our work please call us on: 020 7101 9960 or email us: enquiries@evolvehousing.org.uk
If you are considering a career working for a homelessness charity, or volunteering for us, please see our vacancies page and volunteering opportunities page.
If you would like to donate to help support the work that we do with homeless people around London, please see our donations page.