Want to support the homeless?
Here are five UK charities you should be supporting now to do exactly that.
Centrepoint is the leading charity supporting homeless young people, aged between 16 and 25, in London, Manchester, Yorkshire and the North East of England.
It doesn’t just tackle a lack of accommodation, but also supports young homeless and their struggles with the causes of homelessness such as mental ill health, addiction and joblessness.
It also offers skills and advice to help them get back into education, employment and training to prepare them for the next stage of their lives.
At Centrepoint, support continues for six months after a person has left.
They can access workshops, including courses on managing budgets and paying household bills, and can count on assistance to find suitable accommodation to move into.
However, the charity has recognised that more needs to be done to ensure that young people moving out of homelessness can be given the best chance of success.
That is why it launched an initiative to end youth homelessness by 2037.
Part of this is an innovative scheme to create a unique package of training and affordable housing as a long-term solution to homelessness with the aim of rolling it out in other parts of the country.
Crisis addresses homelessness in the UK in a number of ways.
The charity supports people out of homelessness through education, training and support with housing, employment and health.
It also offers direct support, advice and courses for homeless people in 12 areas across England, Scotland and Wales.
Crisis also commissions and conducts research to help document UK homelessness via its Knowledge Hub.
Its most recent challenge has been to protect rough sleepers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is also at the heart of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelesness.
Shelter provides advice, information, representation and advocacy to people who are homeless, in unsuitable or insecure housing, or at risk of becoming homeless via an online support network as well as advice and support services.
Shelter’s advice and support services offer one-to-one, personalised help with housing issues and homelessness.
It can assist with a wide range of problems, from reclaiming a deposit from a landlord, to getting free legal advice when facing eviction.
Alongside this work, Shelter campaigns on issues of housing and homelessness, specifically how many social homes are needed to tackle the housing crisis.
It lobbied for new social housing throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and has set as its goal to see the building of 3.1m homes over the next 20 years.
St Mungo’s 17 outreach teams go out every night to meet people who are homeless and to help them off the streets.
It is one of the largest providers of outreach services in the country.
Daily, bed and support is offered to more than 3,200 people across London, the south east and south west. St Mungo’s works to help people rebuild their lives and their message of hope is that people can – and do – recover from the issues that cause homelessness.
To help homeless people during the pandemic, it managed 30 hotels and protected 4,000 people as part of the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ scheme.
It is now urging decision-makers to capitalise on the success of that initiative and use it as a catalyst to ending rough sleeping for good.
St Mungos also coordinates the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) a multi-agency database that provides a comprehensive count of the number of rough sleepers coming into contact with outreach workers in London.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is a worldwide evangelical Christian church which has long been on the frontline of homelessness.
Although it has a religious affiliation, it will offer practical help for people without discrimination.
It runs hostels, drop-in centres and does frontline work with rough sleepers, as well as offering a range of other services across the UK.
This includes outreach services, night shelters and addiction services.
The charity is also among the first to offer some Housing First projects and case workers in a bid to end the cycle of homelessness and poverty for some of the most vulnerable people in the country.
The Salvation Army’s 80 ‘Lifehouses’ are intended to offer support that goes beyond a place to stay, also tackling issues with housing, employment, debt problems, training, spirituality, loneliness, addiction or mental health to get people off the street in the long term.