How you can support homeless people this Christmas
By Ian Richards, Crisis’ head of Christmas
We all deserve a safe and secure home. Somewhere we can shut the door and live in warmth and comfort.
Unfortunately, funding cuts including a freeze on housing benefit since 2016 mean that more people are falling behind on their rent and facing eviction and homelessness. This Christmas, thousands of people will be sleeping rough or trapped in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs or hostels.
This is no way for anyone to spend the festive season, let alone live all year round.
Crisis at Christmas is a way to provide immediate help to homeless people at a critical time of year. It is made possible through the collective effort and generosity of thousands of volunteers, individuals, community organisations and companies who donate money, time, skills, goods and services.
This year guests will be welcomed at over 15 centres across Britain where they will be offered meals, clothing, health checks, advice and support with housing, employment and benefits. For many, our Christmas centres offer a chance to relax, regain confidence and plan for the future in a supportive environment, away from the immediate hardships of homelessness.
In 2018, we welcomed 4,676 guests across London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Coventry, Oxford, South Wales and Newcastle, supported by more than 12,200 volunteers. We:
> served 35,957 hot meals
> gave 1,547 people a warm and safe place to sleep
> offered 1,105 health and eye checks
We also held a phenomenal 787 advice sessions, offering guests expert guidance on housing, employment and benefits. Through these sessions, and by introducing people to our year-round Skylight centres offering one to one support, advice and courses, we helped guests take the first steps towards ending their homelessness for good.
There are many ways that you can help us to support homeless people:
> Become a volunteer at one of our centres around the country. Many people say it is the best thing they have ever done.
> Make a one-off, or set up a regular donation. For only £28.87 you could reserve a place for someone to attend one of our centres this Christmas. Or you could set up a regular donation that is automatically taken from your bank.
> Help us to campaign for change. Since 1967 we have been campaigning for an end to homelessness. But we know we can’t do it on our own. We use research and evidence from services to uncover problems and to develop solutions.
We work with thousands of campaigners, people who are homeless, allies and influencers to get the lasting change we need to end homelessness.
Sometimes our campaigning is very public and we’ll ask people to write to or lobby their MPs and sometimes we make the case for change behind the scenes by briefing politicians and their advisers. We campaign on a range of issues including benefits and employment, health and wellbeing, housing, law and rights, and rough sleeping. We campaign to change policy in Westminster, devolved administrations, city regions and local councils.
And we need your help.
> Find out more on how you can help the homeless this Christmas at crisis.org.uk
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