Throughout the Covid pandemic the council and its partners have provided extra support and access to emergency accommodation to people who have been found rough sleeping in the city. This continues to be the case but as winter progresses it is even more important that we do all we can to help.
We’ve put together a few suggestions for how you can help people who are homeless at Christmas. Please be mindful to socially distance for your safety and the person sleeping rough.
1) Report people sleeping rough
Southampton City council has opened up additional winter beds between November and May 2021.
To contact the local Street Homeless Prevention Team you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can if you prefer use Streetlink, this is a service that centralises reporting of rough sleepers, nationally.
A call or online referral to StreetLink will, where appropriate, be passed to the relevant local services – usually our local authority outreach team. Typically, they aim to reach a rough sleeper in one-to-three nights and offer support, and accommodation.
Due to a high volume of calls when the weather is bad, you are advised that the best method to refer rough sleepers is via email, please give the exact place where the rough sleeper is located to make it easier for our teams to find them.
2) Ask yourself first, does the person need emergency help?
If the person in question is underage or is sleeping rough with a child in their care, this is a matter for the police.
If the person is in need of urgent medical attention – for example, if they have an open wound or appear to be seriously ill – calling 999 for an ambulance will get them professional help quickly.
3) Shop consciously to support the Homeless
There are lots of ways you can still get your Christmas shopping done and also help the cause at the same time.
Organisations including the Big Issue have online shops where you can buy gifts and the money goes back into helping those in need.
4) If you really want to give a homeless person help directly.
Many people like to give hot drinks and food or a blanket or a bag of goods. The advantage of giving in kind, is that this ensures your help will be used for a specific purpose, and not on drink or drugs. Please remember to socially distance and where possible wear a mask. Many people sleeping rough have health conditions that mean they will be more at risk if they contract COVID 19.
5) Donate to charities for people who are homeless
Don’t forget the power of helping your local services. They will be under massive pressure at this time of year. Please visit the give help page on the Street Support website to help a local charity. https://streetsupport.net/give-help/donate/
There are also a number of national charities and organisations you can donate to this Christmas.
6) Volunteer to help
It’s a really busy time of year, but if you’re able to spend some time volunteering then you can find out about opportunities provide help via Street Support https://streetsupport.net/give-help/help/?postcode=SO14&type=Time
For more information contact Paul by email on email@example.com