It’s cold outside. Here are some tips for helping people who are sleeping rough in Leicestershire and Rutland during the winter months:
If you’re in England or Wales, the best thing to do if you see someone who is sleeping rough is contact Streetlink. Give as much detail about the individual’s location as you can – plus what time of day you saw or interacted with them. You’ll also need to provide a description of their appearance to help the outreach service identify them.
Streetlink will then be able to locate the person sleeping rough to make sure they know about the support available to them. Visit www.streetlink.org.uk or call 0300 500 0914.
If the person appears to be under 18, you should contact the police. If anyone is in immediate danger, always call 999.
Many of our Emmaus companions (people who’ve experienced homelessness, who we support) remember living on the streets as being incredibly lonely, with people walking past and avoiding eye-contact, especially in cold weather. Starting a simple conversation is always the best way to find out how you might be able to help. Loneliness is a big problem, so say a friendly hello and simply ask if there’s anything they need.
If you have any spare warm clothing, coats, blankets, sleeping bags or single tents, consider offering them to those sleeping rough. In the bitter cold, hats, gloves and thick, waterproof clothing can help a lot.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that sometimes a hot drink can make a huge difference to someone’s day. Keeping warm is extremely important in freezing temperatures so the gift of a large cup of tea or coffee is something many will welcome. Speak to them first to ensure it’s something they want or need.
By helping a homelessness charity, you can ensure that they are able to reach out to as many people as possible.
Often specialist support is the best way to help. Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland works across the Leicestershire and Rutland area; we’ve been helping people who have been homeless or at risk of homelessness since 2012. We offer food, accommodation, support, meaningful work and training opportunities. You can find out more about our charity here.
Ways you can help Emmaus: