As weather conditions worsen and temperatures plummet, all we want is to wrap up warm in bed with a cup of tea. But for those living on the streets, this luxury is unimaginable. It is heart breaking to think that some people are facing unbearably cold and lonely nights, every night, for months to come. Freezing temperatures can be detrimental to those sleeping rough, increasing the risk of hypothermia, frost bite, and even death. So, here are some simple things you can do to help homeless people in Liverpool…
Join the University of Liverpool’s Help the Homeless Society
The Help the Homeless Society originally started in 2013, when a group of students wanted to help make a change to the number of people sleeping rough in Liverpool.
The society is involved in several volunteering opportunities, including sandwich deliveries to the Whitechapel Centre and helping in a breakfast kitchen at temporary accommodation for asylum seekers. They help to raise money for rough sleepers through fundraisers, such as the Whitechapel annual sleepout – a challenging night, with the poignant reminder that some people are unfortunate enough to face these conditions every night.
This Christmas, the Help the Homeless Society are supporting the Whitechapel Centre with the Christmas Giftbag Appeal. You can drop off donations to the Guild Reception or the donations point in Activity Space 4 (next to Starbucks), by Thursday 14th December. They suggest donating items such as chocolate gift boxes, toiletry sets, notebooks and pens, playing cards, etc.
If you want to get involved or find out more information you can visit their Facebook page here, or follow them on Twitter – @UOLHTH.
Support the Whitechapel Centre
The Whitechapel Centre began in 1975, originally just as a day centre, providing washing facilities and meals to those sleeping rough. Since then, they have evolved into an incredible charity, who do an incredible job at helping the most vulnerable members of society. Last year alone they helped 2500 people in Liverpool, with their ‘No Second Night Out’ campaign, vowing never to let someone sleep rough twice.
There has been an increasing number of people needing help from the Whitechapel Centre, but with funding from local government being reduced, they need more help than ever to continue doing the incredible job they do.
If you see someone sleeping rough, then call the Whitechapel Centre on 0300 123 2041. If you want to volunteer or donate, or find out more information, visit their website, or email them – email@example.com.
Volunteer at the Bombed Out Church
Every Sunday from 5.30pm, volunteers gather at the Bombed Out Church (St. Lukes Church). They set up a pop-up kitchen to serve food, hot drinks, clothing and toiletries to help homeless people in Liverpool.
You don’t need to commit to a certain number of hours, you can simply turn up on the day and offer a helping hand. They run entirely on volunteers giving their own donations – food, drinks, clothing, toiletries, or just their time.
You can find out more information on their website.
Talk to People
A couple of years ago, the Liverpool ECHO interviewed current and former rough sleepers in Liverpool. Many of them felt sad and frustrated at being ignored by wider society. They said they enjoyed when people stopped to chat with them, and ask them how they were – even if they didn’t give any money. Sleeping rough can be extremely lonely, and sometimes a simple chat can make a massive difference.
You can read the full article here.
Use Your Vote!
There are many reasons for homelessness, but some of them are within the power of elected politicians to change. With the current Tory government, there have been massive cuts to disability benefits and other policies which have led to a rise in poverty and homelessness (National Audit Office, 2017). So, use your vote carefully! Also, as psychologists we can use our research to help inform policies and create a more equal society.
A contribution by Patsy Irizar, Masters student at The University of Liverpool.