The debate rolls on; should you give people on the street money, shouldn’t you give them money? The issues around homelessness are so varied that there really is no one answer. Don’t forget that homelessness does not define a person’s character and that character’s are as varied as types of available milk alternatives (I bloody love organic cashew nut milk).
I like to believe that most people want to reach out to their fellow human beings but many just don’t know how best to do it. So here are is a non-exhaustive list of ways to make some struggling people’s lives a tad less of a struggle.
1. Just bloody talk to them!
Sounds patronising but if you live in a city like London, as I do, talking to one another is generally avoided. This isn’t just advice in regards to the homeless, this is just something you should do to lift anyone’s day. Asking how someone is and talking about the weather comes pretty naturally to most Brits once in the safe, sterile confines of your office. Just do it outside and to anyone, because it’s nice to be acknowledged, it’s nice to chat to people and for many people it’s nice to be distracted from other difficulties in your life. It shows care, compassion and humanity and it’s pretty damn easy.
2. Offer to go to the shop for someone
Not only can you tick off item one of this list by inherently trying out number two, but a packet of biscuits, sandwich or hot coffee is welcomed by most people. Especially when it’s cold. I mean I’ll be honest, I am not a rough sleeper, but if someone offered me a pack of Oreos whilst I happened to be in the vicinity of the Tesco, I’d be jolly well chuffed and it would leave a fairly big, gleaming, happy mark on my day, whether I accepted or not.
3. Contact StreetLink
4. Volunteer… or at least just ask about it
You don’t have to feel guilty if you aren’t keen to volunteer. But you don't have to feel bashful about simply asking if there is anyway you can help your local organisations. Simply have a google of shelters and charities in your area and contact them asking “what can I do to help?”. That’s just a short email usually and how scary can that be? The answer may be very achievable and simple. If you feel their needs are not something you can manage then you are not obliged at all to go any further.
5. Donate your stuff
“I’ve got nothing to wear” usually means, I buy tonnes of clothes without thinking and now I don’t like them anymore… gosh this soap box is a little unstable? To be honest there is a lot to be said about disposable fashion but I’ll spare you that rant for now. Anyway, go to your wardrobe and axe anything you haven’t worn more than three times in two months. I diddly-dare you. Not only is it surprisingly refreshing to shed material possessions but your space-filling garments can be sold at charity shops or directly used by someone in need. With just a little typing on ye ole internet, you can easily find local shelters and organisations who are constantly in need of decent clothing. Then at least it will get worn.
Images are courtesy of Lolly Galvin. A wonderful human being who is a prime example of how much you can help people by simply reaching out to them.
To keep up to date with the Hopeful blog, news about the people and organisations we work with, promotions and more subscribe to Hopeful News
You also receive 10% off of your first order with Hopeful Traders when you subscribe