Nobody should ever be without a home but especially not during a pandemic. Here are 5 charities stepping in.
Last Christmas, Crisis helped over 4,500 homeless people experience a special day and what can be a very difficult time of year – isolating, dangerous and cold. One in four homeless people spend Christmas alone. Crisis is asking for any help but for £28.22 it can provide a homeless person with somewhere safe to stay, companionship and support, essential food and festive treats, a Christmas activity pack and access to health and wellbeing programmes, year-round support with training and education and advice on housing, work and benefits.
This charity prides itself not just on offering homeless people a bed for the night, but a home, meaningful work and a sense of belonging and self-esteem. The first Emmaus community opened in Cambridge in 1991 and now there are 29 across the UK, from Glasgow to Dover, each with at least one shop or social enterprise and many running successful cafés, shops, gardening projects and removal companies which offer training as well as employment. Emmaus currently has 800 rooms and hopes to have 1,200 by 2021.
Every five minutes a child runs away from home in the UK and Railway Children, which also works in India and East Africa, aims to prevent them from coming to harm. Thousands of vulnerable young people pass through railway stations every day – to hang out or hide, to escape or to meet someone. The charity’s project workers take referrals from British Transport Police and intervene before kids become entrenched in street life, where the risk of being exposed to sexual exploitation, violence or drugs increase and it’s harder to help them.
Every night, St Mungo’s 17 outreach teams in the UK go out to meet homeless people and to help them off the streets. The charity offers a bed and support to more than 2,850 people across the south and south west of England and prides itself on accommodating pets. As well as helping people to deal with issues like mental health and addiction it also aids recovery with its learning, training and employment service, covering everything from personal development to IT skills – its Recovery College continued online during the pandemic.
If you need some stocking fillers, why not buy some of Shelter’s emergency chocolate? Purchasing these Fair Trade bars, or its Christmas cards or crackers, help the charity help the homeless. Donations to Shelter help to provide its free emergency helpline, which is often the first port of call for people facing a housing crisis and aims to stop people becoming homeless. Shelter is also campaigning for systemic changes such as discrimination in the lettings industry against people receiving benefits.