Seeing people sleeping rough on the streets during the winter months is a particularly upsetting reality, and it is often hard to know how to help. At Genesis Trust we would not advise giving money directly to people who are begging. There are plenty of other effective ways to support those in need however.
1. Remember that people living on the streets are human beings just like you, who are often lonely and struggle with being ignored. Ask if they are OK and whether they need food.
2. Tell them about our Lifeline drop-in centre where they can get something to eat, have a hot shower and get clean clothes, as well as access professional advice on what resources and help is available to them. They can also get help at the Julian House night shelter.
3. If someone looks particularly vulnerable, or you notice a homeless person in your area who you haven’t seen before, report it to the national organisation Street Link, who will send an outreach team to offer support in person.
4. Buy the Big Issue from a street vendor to encourage self-help solutions to combating homelessness and unemployment.
5. Volunteer or fundraise for your local homeless charity- this is a great way to support the work of organisations that have established services and years of experience helping those in need.
6. Donate your unused clothing, surplus food, or money to your local homeless charity or Foodbank. They will redistribute it in the best way possible. You can also purchase our Genesis Vouchers which will enable people to get food at our food-related projects.
8. And finally, don’t be a stranger. If you regularly see a homeless person, ask their name and say hello to them. Often, those living on the streets are in need of company and compassion, just as much as food and shelter.
At Genesis Trust we offer a range of services to those in need. Volunteers at the Soup Run provide hot soup and sandwiches every night of the year in the Cattle Market car park, Lunch Box serves sandwiches and hot meals Monday and Wednesday lunchtimes and Sunday Centre offers a hot Sunday lunch each week.
Additionally, we offer long-term support for ex-homeless and those with mental health issues through skills workshops, mentoring and work experience opportunities, via Life Skills and the Furniture Project. For more information on these services please see here.
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