The issue of homelessness in Manchester, and around the rest of the UK, is growing. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that we need organised action to tackle this problem, and there are numerous ways in which you can help. Here at Street Support, we’re strong advocates of trying to provide practical support for the homeless community.
The winter months often bring out widespread generosity. Many people think of those less fortunate during this time and it can be an important period in helping to make a difference in some of the most vulnerable people’s lives. The most vulnerable need as much help as they can get, especially in the cold weather, so thankfully there are plenty of options to consider when helping the homeless this winter.
An important thing to remember is that whilst sending an abundance of donations to charities is a heart-warming show of generosity, it’s not always practical. With practicality in mind, we have some suggestions on how you can make a meaningful impact in helping the homeless during the winter months.
Give based on need
Whilst collecting items to give as gifts to homeless charities and organisations is very generous, it can be difficult to distribute these items to the right people and ensure that the homeless are getting the full benefits of this generosity rather than it going to waste. By looking at our needs list, which is compiled by numerous organisations, you can respond in the most practical way and in turn make a meaningful impact.
Pay for a bed in a winter night shelter
Cold dark nights and poor weather during the winter months make the life of rough sleepers even tougher. For six months during the winter months, Greater Together Manchester runs night shelters in Manchester and Salford to provide a safe haven for rough sleepers. Not only does the shelter provide a bed, washing facilities, support and hot meals are also available to guests. A bed is £27 per guest per night – a great kind-hearted gesture.
Start a conversation with someone who is homeless
Sometimes just being acknowledged and having someone to speak to, even briefly, can be hugely rewarding and positive for someone who is experiencing homelessness. It’s easy for the general public to fall into the trap of avoiding contact with rough sleepers and homeless people on the streets, but this can be understandably demoralising. You can see suggestions on how to start a conversation with someone who is homeless on our blog – a little empathy will go a long way.
Donate to Big Change
To absolutely ensure that your generosity and support is distributed in an impactful and effective way, you can donate to the Big Change fund. Big Change is a more effective way to support the homeless than giving on the streets as your donations go to fund practical items which help individuals to move away from rough sleeping. Frontline workers use the fund to buy practical items that specific homeless individuals need to build new lives and making a lasting change.
Spread the word
You can also use the #bigchangemcr hashtag to share actions that support ending homelessness, spreading the word about Big Change.