Homelessness is an issue that has always struck me, and hurt my heart. I grew up seeing my dad always give money to homeless people, and always saying,
“homelessness isn’t right. We should help them because it could happen to any of us”
He’s right. It has astounded me for years how little help they seem to receive, I want to cry when I see people with dogs or signs with ‘I used to be a war veteran’ scrawled on a piece of cardboard in Sharpie. I usually don’t have any change as I only carry my card, and as a 20 year old student, I can’t afford to be dishing out fivers to every homeless person in Liverpool. I so wish I could, but that just isn’t feasible for me right now. Although, on a night out I give any money I have to them. Me and Matt made friends with a little dog called Buster. We saw him and his lovely female owner in town every friday night, gave them money and hugs, and even bought him water from corner shops. I grew up in a relatively wealthy town, so never really was exposed to the reality of homelessness. This all changed when I moved to Liverpool for University. You can barely pass a doorway in town without coming across strewn bedding and some poor soul. It absolutely breaks my heart. I have also noticed that there has been a rise in homelessness in Leamington, where my boyfriend lives so we visit often. After going to watch the amazing River of Light show on bonfire night, and researching how much the fireworks cost the Liverpool council, it made me sick to my stomach.
The thought of the many homeless men, women, and dogs watching the thousands of glorious fireworks was too much. I couldn’t help thinking, ‘why wasn’t this money used to help homeless people instead of used on a 15 minute firework display?’. I would have felt much happier if this was the case, as the money would have contributed to something far more worthwhile, with a longer lasting impact. It made me think, I have to do something this year. Most of us are lucky enough not to have experienced this, and never will, but I can not imagine a more demeaning and difficult way of life. ESPECIALLY in winter. This is why I am going to try and help some of them, in any way I can.
Remember the shoebox appeal when you were in school? I thought about doing this with my housemates instead of our usual Secret Santa. If we each put £10 in a collection and used it to buy products for people, we would have £80. I thought we could get together some essentials such as;
- Small gift
- Dog treats (if necessary)
Then we could put them all in a box or small bag and all go into town together and hand them out. I think this would bring joy to people, and give them a bit of Christmas that they would otherwise miss.
I am also collecting any clothes or products I no longer need or want and will donate them to charities, or the Whitechapel Centre for homelessness in Liverpool. I am also going to encourage all my housemates to root around in their rooms for anything they could find. I have also asked my parents to make a donation to this centre.
I have been talking about this with Matt and one of my housemates. We were thinking of volunteering at the Whitechapel Centre over Christmas, or ringing them and asking if there is anything we could do for them. I would encourage everyone to do this.
Just bare these poor people in mind when you’re all tucking into your Christmas Dinner, playing games and opening presents. Spare a thought for everyone who fell upon hard times, and isn’t lucky enough to have a support network around them. I hope this post makes you reflect, and hopefully encourages even one of you to do something to help the homeless. I will leave links enabling you to do so, below.
Whitechapel Centre Contact Details: (for any Liverpool-dwellers)
The Whitechapel Centre
Tel: 0151 207 7617
Fax: 0151 207 4093
No Second Night Out: 0300 123 2041
(24 hours, please only use this number to tell them about a rough sleeper)
To Donate Online: http://www.help-the-homeless.org.uk/supporting-us/
To Take A Proactive Approach: https://www.sleepoutchallenge.org.uk/?gclid=CjwKCAiA9MTQBRAREiwAzmytw9TWVz0NDOankIU1lVwM9e27UtngAbF63Y_aTRC-i8QAmn7WJHlI9BoCEtQQAvD_BwE