With Christmas fast approaching, households across the country are planning festive feasts and gift giving.
But many people won’t be spending the holidays in comfort and safety. Last year, a report from Shelter found that in England alone, 280,000 people were sleeping rough or staying in temporary housing and hostels on Christmas Day.
And the figure from the housing charity is likely to underestimate the true severity of homelessness. Crisis estimated that a further 71,400 people across Britain were crashing with friends or family on a short-term basis because they had nowhere else to go.
This year, the coronavirus pandemic is set to add to the problem of homelessness, with rising numbers of job losses and businesses going bust.
Charities have warned that the “double threat” of coronavirus and cold weather is likely to prove fatal for some homeless people this winter unless action is taken to get them into socially-distanced accommodation.
Here are some of the ways you can help this festive season.
If you are aware that someone is sleeping rough and are worried for the welfare, contact the StreetLink charity.
StreetLink puts homeless people in contact with their local authority and outreach services, which can provide immediate support.
“The public is asked to provide a specific location for the site, details of the time the rough sleeper has been seen at the location and any other information, such as gender and approximate age,” explains ITV News. “This is passed by StreetLink to outreach teams who will use the information to find the homeless person and provide assistance.”
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