Homelessness and rough sleeping are big problems affecting many parts of the United Kingdom. While the number of rough sleepers in Tower Hamlets is relatively low compared to other parts of London, this doesn't mean that homelessness has been eradicated from the community. The low rough sleeping figures are due to the hard work of outreach services and charities in Tower Hamlets. Take a look at this blog from Service Care Solutions.
Here are 5 tips outlining some of the ways residents in the area can support the homeless population:
1. Bookmark the Streetlink website.
Streetlink is a service that enables members of the public to alert the local council to people sleeping rough in the neighborhood. Altering the council is the first thing people can do to help ensure rough sleepers are linked up to local services and support packages available to them.
2. Contact the local council.
Learn about the housing options and homelessness services offered by the council. If you come across someone who is sleeping rough, you can explain to them how to contact the council to get access to immediate shelter and support with access housing options. Once a homeless person contacts the council, employees from the service will provide help and advice. Councils aren't all about just removing graffiti according to this site.
3. Give any spare money you have to homeless charities.
Giving money directly to a homeless person to help them buy some food or a hot drink is, unfortunately, not going to fix their situation. Rough sleepers are vulnerable people who have been excluded from almost all aspects of society. Many people sleeping rough have been in prison or were raised in care homes when they were young, and are often inflicted with serious physical and mental health issues. Some spare change can't fix those problems. Donating some money to charities like Providence Row, Shelter, Crisis, and Centrepoint is the best way to help the homeless population. Those charities campaign to the government to find ways of helping deal with homelessness on a big scale. In addition, those charities provide homeless people with housing, food, work training, access to healthcare and various resources. Your spare change will go much further when you donate it to charities.
4. Buy copies of The Big Issue from licensed sellers.
The Big Issue is an independent UK charity that provides those who are homeless with a chance to earn some money. If you purchase a copy of the Big Issue, be sure to choose licensed sellers.
5. Volunteer in a homeless shelter or with a street charity working with rough sleepers.
Volunteering your time to help people who are suffering from homelessness can be very satisfying. The ways you can help will depend on your skills and experience, and it's best to contact a registered homeless charity and tell them you are interested in volunteering your time. Even if you don't have any specific skills, just being there to listen to those suffering with a non-judgmental ear can help a lot. No matter what you do, your contribution has the potential to have a big impact on the lives of those rough sleeping on the city's streets.
6. Never demonize homeless people!
Those who are sleeping rough are just as valuable as everyone else. Their lives have just been inundated with unfortunate events that have left them vulnerable. Cruelly demonizing them further is not going to help.
Homeless Link has a webpage full of research showing what is happening at the ground level. It identifies what is and isn't working when it comes to combating homelessness. Be sure to visit the page and to learn more about the situation for yourself.