Homelessness at Christmas 2018
Christmas is a time for family, festivity and food for a lot of us in the UK. It is a time of mindless mass consumerism – trying to create the perfect Christmas as directed by the advertising we see from around November onwards.
But what is Christmas like for those who are less fortunate, and particularly for those who find themselves without a home over the festive period? Bridging Loans investigates the newfound governmental statistics.
The BBC has recently reported that in the UK, more than 130,000 children will find themselves living in temporary accommodation for Christmas. This is not the type of Christmas anyone wants for their children.
Furthermore, up to date statistics, courtesy of the charity Shelter, show that one in every 103 under 18s are now officially homeless. This is a shocking 59 per cent rise in the last five years. Councils have stated that up and down the country, the lack of housing has left them simply “struggling to cope”, resulting in mass homelessness and temporary shelters spilling over with people.
Shelter went on to say that the number of children who are living in temporary accommodation in England alone has increased by 62 per cent in these five years. Meanwhile, in Scotland, it has increased to 36 per cent.
The charity went on to refer us to the governmental statistics that around 1,524 children in Wales were to be in temporary housing over Christmas and beyond. This bases on figures for the overall number of households.
Ways to help the homeless this Christmas
There are actually a number of things you can do for those who find themselves homeless this Christmas. After all, it supposedly a time of giving. Here are some ideas, if you want to help.
Many homeless charities claim that is better to donate directly to the charity rather than simply giving someone on the street money, as they could find themselves using it for vices. This is not uncommon.
As well as donating money, or instead of donating money, you could think about donating things. Food, clothing and other things like sanitary products for young girls and women. The little things we take for granted are often gaping holes for those in need.
Contact local services
If you find yourself concerned about someone who you have seen sleeping rough on the streets of England or Wales, then you alert the local authorities or outreach services and make them aware of their whereabouts but utilising the Streetlink app.
Buy for those in need
While you may, justifiably, be dealing with the stress of getting all the gifts ready and bought for the family, you could take a little time to consider those who are less fortunate than yourself. Many people who have found themselves homeless obviously cannot afford to give their children anything for Christmas, which must be extremely heart-breaking.
You could gift some necessitates to those who are homeless, like blankets and clothing. Coats, hats, scarves and gloves are especially welcomed in this weather.
Stop for a chat
Many homeless people face feeling dehumanised due to the number of people who do not even look at them when they walk past. A simple smile could be enough, by why not go a little further this Christmas and stop for a chat.
Taking a moment out of your day to introduce yourself to a homeless person can make an immeasurable different to their mental health. The long hours of isolation, loneliness and sleep deprivation can manifest into something very ugly that no one should have to through.
If you can afford to, you can always offer to buy them something to eat and a hot drink.