Homelessness in Liverpool has reached crisis point. With Liverpool’s estimated homeless population at a record-high, and a shocking 70% increase of homelessness deaths in Liverpool in the past five years, the problem can seem overwhelming. For the individual citizen who wants to help, it can be hard to know how to tackle such an immense and ever-growing issue. But with Christmas fast approaching, many people want to know what they can do. For this reason, I have complied a list of four simple things that you can do this year which could make the winter of our city’s homeless a little less bitter.
Simple enough as the idea is, food banks have become an ever-growing resource for those struggling with food, with one food bank in particular reporting a 40% increase in usage. Supporting your local food banks by dropping off the odd can or pack of pasta may not seem like much, but it really does go a long way in helping those who don’t have the money to buy what they need. Food banks to look out for include The Trussell Trust Food Bank, the Knowsley Food Bank, as well as independent food banks, which struggle even more with donations.
With Christmas around the corner, this time of year is likely to mean one thing for a lot of us – buying new clothes. Which naturally means throwing away the ones that no longer fit. But before you drive down the tip, have a check and see if there’s any clothes donation stop-offs along the way. Donating clothes is a costless gesture on the giver’s half, but it will mean the world to those sleeping rough as the nights draw in and the weather grows colder. Foundations such as British Heart, Oxfam, Barnardo’s and Take 2 Liverpool rely on the support and generosity of the average person in order to continue their amazing work.
Homeless shelters are always in need of something new – whether it be mattresses, razors, or even just soap. Given their rising demand, homeless shelters will sadly never stop being in shortage of one thing or another. If you want to take it a step further, you could always volunteer at one of the shelters. Homeless shelters such as Anne Flower House, Shelter Merseyside and The Whitechapel Centre are some of the big ones to look out for.
Whilst it’s important to ‘do your bit’, often times it’s best to leave it to the people who know what they’re doing – but the volunteers who work for these homeless charities can’t do everything on their own, which is why it is imperative that we lend them a hand. Donating a small amount of money to these charities (whether its one-off or monthly) will really make a difference for the homeless of the city. Charities such as The Basement, Liverpool Homeless Football Club, and The Missionaries of Charity are all doing amazing work to help the increasing numbers of homeless in our city – and this Christmas you could help them too.
Written by Harrison Whittle