MOST Brits are pretty annoyed at the extent of homelessness, but feel powerless to do anything to help, claims the charity Crisis.
The organisation commissioned a YouGov poll of over 2,000 people across the country, to gauge the public mood, ahead of the launch of its Christmas appeal.
It found that 61% of those polled feels angry, upset or frustrated about the state of homelessness across the country – but feel powerless to help.
Nearly three quarters (74%) said they are generally worried about homelessness in Britain, with 59% saying they are more worried about the situation now than they were five years ago.
And while most (57%) felt like they should help, almost seven in 10 (68%) confessed they usually don’t know what to do when they see someone who is homeless.
The poll also showed that more than half of Brits (54%) feel upset or frustrated with the current situation. Nearly three quarters (74%) said they feel governments across the country could be doing more to end homelessness – something the charity campaigns for year-round.
“These figures show just how much people care about solving our homelessness crisis and doing something to help those who have nowhere to turn,” said Jon Sparkes, Crisis’ chief executive.
“Ultimately, homelessness can and must be ended. But until then, Crisis’ Christmas centres are a lifeline for thousands of homeless people across the country who would otherwise be sleeping rough in the bitter cold or trapped in often unsuitable temporary accommodation.
“That’s why we’re asking people to support our work this Christmas and year-round – so we can be there for everyone who needs us, and give people in the most vulnerable circumstances support to leave homelessness behind for good.”
According to Crisis, there are 236,000 people experiencing the worst forms of homelessness in Britain today, including those living on the streets, sleeping in cars, trains, and tents, or living in in unsuitable temporary accommodation.
While many people may be unsure how to help. Crisis has provided some guidance on how they can do so and is asking members of the public to be vigilant this winter.
If someone is seen sleeping rough, contact Streetlink (in England and Wales), or the local council in Scotland, to connect that person with the homelessness services in their area. If there are immediate concerns about their welfare, the charity advises to call 999.
“There are also things you can do depending on what you are comfortable with. Whether you give, or what you give, is of course a personal choice,” the charity says, but its suggestions include:
- Asking if there is anything they need. It could be a hot drink or food, or some spare change
- Providing blankets or warm clothing, like hats, scarfs, socks or gloves
- Simply stopping for a conversation or offering a kind word – homelessness can be an incredibly isolating experience
The charity’s Christmas centres provide shelter, warm meals, and vital services to thousands of homeless people over the holidays. The centres also provide vital medical, housing, and other advisory services to help people take their first steps out of homelessness.
They are open between 22-29 December across London, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham and Coventry.