This winter more people are predicted to become homeless, due to the rising costs in food, bills and rent. The cost of living crisis is adding extra pressure on everyone, but could prove too much for those at risk of homelessness. Research shows surging energy bills could push up to 1.7 million people into homelessness, and new data recorded in London between July and September 2022 shows rough sleeping has increased by 25% from the previous quarter.
The drop in temperature over winter presents a dangerous risk to the health of the people on the streets.
It’s sometimes hard to know the best way to help someone who is sleeping rough or homeless, but here are some practical tips.
StreetLink enables members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with local services in England and Wales.
You can send an alert to StreetLink which will alert local teams to the whereabouts of the individual and allow them to connect them with available support and accommodation.
You can do this on their website, by downloading the mobile phone app or by calling 0300 500 0914. The alert is sent to the appropriate local outreach teams, so that they can find the individual and connect them to support services.
People sleeping rough are often isolated and lonely. They are likely to experience many people walking past and ignoring them, which can be dehumanizing. Be kind; strike up a conversation, ask their name and situation, and ask what they might need.
Check how they are feeling, ask whether they are hungry or thirsty – if so buy them some food, or a hot drink. If someone looks unwell, and the temperatures are very cold, potentially consider calling 111 for health advice or 999 for an ambulance.
One night on the streets can change a young person’s life – they face violence, abuse and theft. Trying to sleep without shelter on cold, hard surfaces they suffer physical ill-health. Scared and lonely, their mental health can deteriorate quickly.
By donating to Depaul’s urgent winter appeal you can help get people off the streets and into safety. The money you donate can help the most vulnerable. Even a small donation could make a huge difference to someone this winter.
Depaul’s emergency overnight accommodation service Nightstop helps people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Our volunteer hosts are crucial to this. Volunteers offer their spare room for the night, a hot meal, and a listening ear.
Nightstop can help people off the streets and into the home of a trained and vetted volunteer the very same day. Our staff will signpost young people to other services and agencies which will support them out of homelessness.
Find out more about the services we deliver to support young people experiencing homelessness.