Mat Dowie, Director of policy and external affairs at Crisis, said ‘ Cold weather conditions can prove fatal for people sleeping on the streets. Tragically the average age of death for a homeless person is just, 47. When you add to this the statistic that you they are 17 more likely to be physically attacked, this is an awful situation in which to live.’ When we step out in the morning with our thermal socks and coats and we mutter to ourselves and each other just how bitingly cold the weather at the moment is, spare a thought for those that have been sleeping out in it all night. They are not dashing from a centrally heated bedroom to a nice warm car or indeed to an office where you can happily take off your jumper.
When we step out in the morning with our thermal socks and coats and we mutter to ourselves and each other just how bitingly cold the weather at the moment is, spare a thought for those that have been sleeping out in it all night. They are not dashing from a centrally heated bedroom to a nice warm car or indeed to an office where you can happily take off your jumper.
Charities such as Crisis and Shelter do a great job, but what can we do to make an instant change, to help, to save someone?
Fay Sibley of Colchester has, like several others in Yorkshire and Essex, started a very simple idea, it’s a coat exchange. Simply set up a coat stand or rail where people can leave a coat for someone who needs one or can take one if they need one. It may just save lives.
This being the 21st century, there is also an app. Streetlink app. The idea behind this is that if you become aware of someone sleeping on the streets and you are worried about them then you can send the details of where and when you met this person and the local authorities will send someone out to see if they can help. Often people on the streets may not know what facilities are available to them and so with this option at least they will have a choice, hopefully. Matt Harrison of StreetLink explained ‘ that this is an immediate link for people to help street people and they have already helped more than 10,000 people since its inception. Anyone can become homeless and its dangerous and very frightening’
One of the other practical things that can be done is shopping. Shopping for things that are needed, for example, hats, gloves, thermal socks, fleece jumpers and rucksacks, umbrella’s and military grade waterproof jackets. Visit https://crackandcider.com for more information on keeping the homeless warm this winter.
One of the great misconceptions about homeless people is that you cant talk to them. Many homeless people feel that if they are ignored it is worse than being abused. Stop and have a chat, buy a cup of tea, treat them as human beings having a hard time. It could happen to any of us. Are we not the lucky ones? Life and circumstances can sometimes deal a raw hand……