This week has brought us the first frost of the year. I was shocked to wake up Monday morning and have to use my scraper for the car windscreen. Whilst I do love these fresh frosty mornings, it does prompt a thought for those who are sleeping rough on our streets.
There is no national figure for how many people are homeless across the UK. This is because homelessness is recorded differently in each nation, and because many homeless people do not show up in official statistics at all. Government street counts and estimates give a snapshot of the national situation. The latest figures showed that 4,134 people slept rough across England on any given night in 2016 – a 16% increase compared to the previous year, and more than double the amount in 2010.
Sleeping rough is horrendous at the best of times, never mind when temperatures are hitting minus figures. Sometimes it is difficult to know what to do when you see somebody that is homeless. Personally, I want to help, but I’m not sure giving that person some money is the best way. I know that if I donate to a charity, that money or clothing can go further in helping a homeless person, than giving a person a couple of quid. But how are homeless people found by these charities to receive that help?
A great app, StreetLink, is there for you to record when and where you have seen a homeless person. Dead easy to do. Head to your App Store, search ‘StreetLink’, download and then when you next see somebody sleeping rough follow the prompts on the app for information to submit. The StreetLink team will then ensure the person sleeping rough is connected up with the services, accommodation and support available in their local area to help them away from the streets as quickly as possible.
StreetLink is currently only available in England and Wales. I know I have followers from all over the world, so if you have a similar scheme in your country, please share in the comments section to promote that great service to others.