How to help homeless people this winter

News

We’ve all had that moment when you see a homeless person but you don’t have any spare change, or can’t afford to give any money.

Figures suggest more people are becoming homeless, but nearly 70% of people don’t know what to do when they see someone affected, according to research group YouGov.

It found that most people feel angry, upset, or frustrated about the state of homelessness across the country, but feel powerless to help.

Ellie Goulding, who works with charities, has told Newsbeat there are small things we can all do.

“Homelessness has been on the rise every year which is why I will scream about it as much as I can,” the singer says.

So what can you to do help?
“If you see someone on the street, even if you don’t have any cash on you, I genuinely think the interaction is more important than anything,” Ellie says.

“People on the street end up having a lack of social skills and not having friends or a connection with people. So if you don’t have the money, just have a conversation.”

If you see someone sleeping rough, the advice from charity Crisis is to contact Streetlink in England & Wales, or the local council in Scotland, to connect that person with the homelessness services in their area.

If you have immediate worries about their welfare, they say you should call 999.

There are mixed views on whether to give money directly to rough sleepers, with some groups warning it can fuel addictions.

But others say it can be essential to help them buy the basics.

Either way, you can also give cash to charities or donate to clothes banks and charity shops.

Crisis says with temperatures dropping, offering a homeless person a hot drink, a blanket or warm clothes can also be a big help.

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