Here are five simple ways to help the homeless through Shelter this Christmas

Join our campaign to spread the word about the current crisis

This winter, Marie Claire has joined forces with Shelter to raise awareness about vulnerable women and to help those living in dire emergency accommodation or being forced to sleep on the street.

Women make up 60% of the 320,000 people currently sleeping on the streets in the UK, and shockingly once sleeping rough have a life expectancy of just 42 years old.

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‘People think that homeless people are lazy, but many like me without permanent homes are working, they just can't afford to their pay rent. You can come from any walk of life and end up homeless.’ What does homelessness look like in 2019? You might be surprised. Last year 78 families in England became homeless every day and Sireena, 35, was one of them. This Christmas, instead of looking forward to hanging the decorations with her son, she is panicking about being out on the streets again in 2020. Experts estimate that 1 in 3 working families are just a single pay cheque away from losing their home and becoming victims of a spiralling crisis which encompasses 320,000 people across Britain. Untold thousands more make up the ‘hidden homeless’, forced to sleep on friends’ sofas, in hostels or find other makeshift arrangements to avoid sleeping rough. Women who end up among the growing number of the street homeless are the only group in our society whose life expectancy is lower than men’s, at just 42. This winter, we at @marieclaireuk are joining forces with @sheltercharity to help women living in dire emergency accommodation – or being forced to sleep on the street – get to a better place. Link in bio for Sireena’s story and to find out how you can help throughout December. Thank you. #sheltercharity #marieclairecampaign #hiddenhomeless

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Over the past week, as we’ve told the stories of women facing homelessness  if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that it can happen to anyone at any time. You can come from any walk of life and end up homeless.

It is a huge and complex crisis, but we can all help. Here’s how.

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This wasn’t just a walk. This was a 10km fight against homelessness… Last night, the @marieclaireuk team joined over 2,500 volunteers, campaigners and celebrities who took to the streets of London for the 10km Sleep Walk for Shelter to help raise £500,000 to tackle the very real homelessness crisis in Britain. What did we take away from the event? It was a genuine wake up call as we marched the 2-hour route following the Thames and passing famous landmarks from The Shard to Tower Bridge, to see just how many homeless people were sleeping in restaurant doorways, dark alleys and makeshift camps by the river as Christmas shoppers passed by seemingly unaware. Next week (December 11) the fight against the crisis continues, as the ‘Sleep Walk’ moves to Manchester. Meanwhile, we’ll be telling more stories of women who face homelessness over the Christmas period. Stay tuned. And join the movement. Link in bio 👆 #marieclairecampaign #sheltercharity #hiddenhomeless #sleepwalkforshelter

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Here are five ways that Shelter explains we can all make a difference now

Give your skills

According to Shelter, volunteers are ‘integral to our fight against bad housing and homelessness.’ But if volunteering at a shop or a campaign event isn’t for you, there are plenty more options. You can volunteer your skills. Whether you have experience in social media, law, human resources, data input or administrating, Shelter can utilise this. ‘Whatever your interest, skills and experience and however much time you have to give, there’s a role for you,’ says Shelter.

Donate

There are almost 100 Shelter shops on high streets across the UK, selling everything from clothes and accessories to furniture and books to help the homeless. You can find your nearest Shelter shop via the website and donate any good quality items. ‘Shelter shops can turn your unwanted goods into help for people facing homelessness and bad housing’ says the charity.

Send an email

Helping the homeless can be as easy as sending an email. In the run up to the General Election, Shelter is encouraging the public to campaign to change the laws around housing. ‘This election we have a chance to make sure the next government builds the homes we need’, the website reads, encouraging members of the public to email their local MPs calling for them to face up to the crisis. With an easy system of working out who your candidates are and a link to email them, making a big difference has never been easier.

Fundraise

There are fundraising events up and down the country, from marathons and triathlons to comedy and live music nights. ‘Want to run a marathon? Cycle 100 miles? Climb a skyscraper? You can do all these things for Shelter and more,’ Alternatively, if you want to create your own event, the Shelter team can support you.

Have your say

If you have had experience in housing issues, Shelter wants to hear your thoughts. ‘Because of your personal experience, you have a unique understanding of housing and homelessness issues,’ the charity explains. If you have insight or ideas, your involvement could improve the work Shelter does and you can be a powerful voice for change.

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