Facing Christmas when you’re experiencing homelessness


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If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s the power of connection. We rely on each other for companionship, hope and support. Sadly, people across the UK will be alone this Christmas, with no friends or family to share the day with. And, no safe place to call home.

Sadly, more and more people are experiencing homelessness. Rough sleeping has risen by 52% since 2010, and Shelter estimates that 280,000 people are homeless in England - that’s one in every 200 people. But the figure is likely much higher as Crisis reckon 62% of single homeless people don’t show up on official figures.

As we approach winter, the weather gets colder and the conditions on the streets are extremely dangerous. Christmas should be a time of joy, but it isn’t for many people experiencing homelessness. And, after December, the harsh January winter is just around the corner. Thanks to your support, we can provide support to people experiencing homelessness all year round, not just at Christmas.

Estranged from family.

We all look forward to spending time with family during the holidays. But, for many people experiencing homelessness, they’ll be separated from their loved ones this Christmas. Relationship breakdowns are often cited as one of the leading causes of homelessness, and 49% of young people become homeless due to a family breakdown.

The people we support are brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and parents. They may have children that have been taken into care. While some may be allowed visits, not everyone is in contact with their kids. Christmas can be an extremely lonely time, with reminders everywhere of the family they are estranged from.

The nights are colder

The temperature plummets in the lead up to Christmas. People sleeping rough are at risk of hypothermia, frost bite and flu, colds and viruses. The long nights are dangerous for people with no option but to sleep on the streets. Rough sleepers are almost 17 times more likely to be victims of violence compared to the general public.

The Severe Weather Protocol is an emergency response to prevent deaths of people sleeping rough. It is activated if the temperature is forecast to go below zero for three nights. Due to the huge risks with sleeping rough in such cold weather, people sleeping rough are provided a bed for the night. For many of our clients with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) this is their only chance of respite from the cold. With no recourse to public funds, they’re not entitled to emergency accommodation unless the Severe Weather Protocol is on.

What happens after Christmas?

December is a very charitable time of year and thankfully, many of you kindly give back at Christmas. At Simon on the Streets, we’re always overwhelmed by the amount of you that contact us offering donations, to volunteer and to fundraise for us.

But, the winter weather continues long after Christmas. Homelessness kills all year round and the struggles many of our clients’ face continue as ever after the festive season. It’s why homeless charities call for support all year round. Homelessness isn’t only an issue at Christmas.

Facing the holiday season when you’re experiencing homelessness can be a very isolating and lonely time. Separated from family and loved ones, battling the cold weather, Christmas isn’t the joyful time of year that it is for many. And, the freezing winter weather continues long after December.

You can support our work with people experiencing homelessness today by donating online. If you’d like to donate something to help with the winter weather, take a look at our Amazon Wishlist. We also list Christmas presents our clients have asked for.

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