Join our campaign to spread the word about the current crisis
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.
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.
‘My route to homelessness was similar to thousands of other women in the UK,’ Cash Carraway told Marie Claire . ‘High rents and zero-hour minimum wage contracts mean you are only ever one relationship breakdown, dropped shift, or delayed Universal Credit payment away from losing your home.’
It is a huge and complex crisis, but we can all help. Here’s how.
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.
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.
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.