News & stories Homelessness Explained How to help homeless people this winter Times are tough right now. While London is full of opportunities, it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world. Food prices have soared, energy costs are astronomical, and rents have skyrocketed. Many people are living on the brink, just trying to make ends meet. No one should be in this desperate situation. We all have a role to play in making a difference. These are 10 ways you can help, and not all of them come with a price tag. Send a StreetLink alert If you spot someone over 18 sleeping on the street, help by contacting StreetLink. Provide their location, clothing description, and time of day. The more specific you are, the better. Outreach workers will then try and find these Londoners to connect them with local services, like the winter shelters we run. Visit: thestreetlink.org.uk. For anyone under 18, call the police. And if the person needs urgent medical attention, always dial 999. Check in Being on the street is an isolating experience. People often feel invisible to the thousands of passers-by. If you’ve got time, stop to say hello, and have a quick chat with someone you see on the street. Check if they are okay, if they need anything. The chat can really brighten the day. Pop to the shop If you’re popping into your local shop, you can ask someone if there’s anything they need. It could be a drink, a snack, pet food or even toiletries. Remember to ask if they have a preference first. Like anyone else, they might have dietary requirements or just want a particular biscuit! Be a great Secret Santa Share the gift of generosity this Christmas by buying a Christmas dinner or gift for a Londoner experiencing homelessness. It’s the ultimate gift that keeps on giving: shop.shp.org.uk. Donate your coat Donate warm clothes, such as a coat, blanket, hat, or gloves. This can be a lifeline for someone on the street, helping them stay warm and get back on their feet. You can also buy a hat and scarf set from our online Shop For Good for just £8. Asked for money on the tube? If someone asks you for cash on the street or on the tube, you can be pretty sure they’re in an awful situation. While giving spare change can offer some immediate relief, it doesn’t address the root of their situation. Consider supporting a London homeless charity by donating online at shp.org.uk/donate. Whatever you choose to do, offering some acknowledgement and a smile doesn’t cost and is always welcome. Pay it forward The Caffe sospeso tradition started in Naples. If you’d had a stroke of luck, you could order sospeso, paying for two coffees but having just one. Later, someone in need could ask about available sospeso and enjoy a free coffee. In the UK, it’s known as ‘paying it forward’. Ask a local café and see if they’d allow you to do this for someone. Spread holiday joy and end homelessness Save on the cost of stamps and cards by choosing to donate to charity. Buy one of our Christmas e-cards for your loved ones, share the festive spirit, and help end homelessness in London. Make this someone's last Christmas homeless: www.dontsendmeacard.com. Volunteer your time Short on cash? You can still make an impact. Donate your time and skills through Team London. They have volunteer opportunities from approved organisations. Whether it’s a one-time gig or an ongoing role, there’s something for everyone. Give back to your community, develop new skills, and help improve London. Learn more at: www.london.gov.uk. Donate to a food bank Food banks save lives, and demand is up. Find your local one via Trussell Trust or Independent Food Aid Network maps. Stick to their needed items to balance supplies – no cereal mountains, please. Toiletries, baby supplies, and cleaning products are often very welcome. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Single Homeless Project is the largest homeless charity dedicated to helping Londoners in crisis. Every year, we help 10,000 Londoners experiencing homelessness get the support they deserve and a place to call home.