8 October 2019 | Volunteering | Back to Blog

World Homeless Day: help end poverty and volunteer to combat homelessness

World Homeless Day is recognised internationally in order to increase public awareness, and to educate individual communities on the issue of homelessness. Whilst obtaining an accurate picture of the number of people without a home is challenging, a global survey by the United Nations in 2005 estimated that 100 million people were homeless worldwide. The true number is expected to be much higher, and according to Habitat for Humanity, as of 2015 up to 1.6 billion people now lack adequate housing. 

We’ve compiled a list of charities below who work at both a national and local level, and are in operation to offer a number of services to combat homelessness and help people back into education and employment. 

Homelessness charity, Shelter, have been offering one-to-one support, emergency help and free legal advice to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming so for over 50 years. Volunteers are key to their campaign to end bad housing and homelessness, so there are a myriad of ways that you can get involved to make a true difference. Find out how you can help raise money in their shops or support at their fundraising events whilst developing your own skills. 

The Big Issue Foundation is a financially independent charity, established by Gordon Roddick and John Bird in reaction to the growing number of rough sleepers in London. Their core philosophy to ending poverty and exclusion for good is to help people help themselves – vendors use their own funds to buy magazines to sell at their own profit or loss. By extension, The Big Issue Foundation connects vendors with the services and support they need, enabling them to build their futures. Sign up here to volunteer to change lives. 

Crisis formed in 1967 as a critical response to the increasing number of people experiencing homelessness, and have since aided tens of thousands of people to rebuild their lives. There are many ways that you can offer your help to Crisis, including volunteering at their Skylight centres. Here, you can work one-on-one with people to help improve their literacy and numeracy skills, offering advice to improve their health and wellbeing, or help them find a home and settle in. As the festive season is fast approaching, applications for Crisis at Christmas 2019 will soon be open this month – as one of the largest volunteering projects in Europe, there’ll be plenty of roles and times available. Read more about how you can get involved with Crisis. 

StreetLink provide a vital service to communities across the UK by helping members of the public to link people sleeping rough to local services that can give them support. Their London-based volunteers actively help to direct vulnerable people away from sleeping rough, and instead point them towards appropriate organisations that have the resources to help. They are always in need of volunteers to help during the daytime, evening or weekends. To join their team and help combat homelessness, email volunteer@streetlink.org.uk

If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can send an alert to StreetLink using their website or via their app. If you think the person you are concerned about is under 18, is in immediate danger or needs urgent care, call 999.