Homelessness has always been a lingering problem, not just in the UK but worldwide.  So what does it mean to be homeless?

Does being homeless mean that you have no walls and no roof? No. Homelessness is a bigger problem than we actually think it is. A home is not just a house or a room. A home is a place where a warm social atmosphere is created, a place which defines our character, and a place that gives someone a sense of comfort and belonging. Homelessness is when you don’t have that place.

Crisis charity, one of the charities aiming to tackle homelessness explains: “It is an isolating and destructive experience and homeless people are some of the most vulnerable and socially excluded in our society.”

Homelessness levels were initially decreasing year by year until 2010, where they made a U-turn and continue to rise due to cuts in housing benefits and other direct causes within the economy.

 

Facts and figures

Almost 3 out of 4 applicants for homelessness in the UK are actually considered homeless, nearly half of which are deemed in priority need, British government statistics show. The report, showing statistics from 1 July to 30 September 2013, also claims that the number of people in temporary accommodation in the UK continues to rise towards the end of the year.

Furthermore, University of York research has shown that 80,000 people in their youth become homeless each year in the UK when cuts to local funding discourage necessary aid and safety provided by charities.

There have been some governmental approaches towards homelessness in the UK such as the Supporting People (SP) fund that was announced by the government in April 2003. The SP fund provided financial stability for homeless and other susceptible people to pay for temporary accommodation. However, the recent Coalition Government rejected it to be used for only that purpose in order that the money can be spent on other things by local authorities.

On this basis, the questions arise: What can we do to help those living on the streets under ruthless circumstances? How can we lend them a helping hand, especially in the coldest of winter days?

 

Working together

Many well-known UK-based and international charities aim to provide the homeless all over the UK with warm blankets and emergency homeless packs containing gloves, hats, socks and underwear in winter, and other bare essentials needed throughout the year.

With the help of you and all the people you inform about this mission, we may be able to plant smiles all over Britain. Simply donate any amount and spread the message.  And as Gandhi says: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.”  Let us start now. Together.