Helping the Homeless in the Summer
Homeless charity ‘Shelter’ estimates that around 320,000 people in Great Britain are homeless. With the UK experiencing a rise in temperatures this summer, people living on the street can be the worst affected by the weather.
For all of us the heatwave can put us at risk of dehydration, overheating and heatstroke. Here’s a few ways you can help homeless people stay protected:
1. Provide someone with a reusable water bottle
Dehydration can cause dizziness, tiredness and light-headedness. Providing a homeless person with a reusable bottle allows them to refill at water fountains and in cafés. It is also a good way to cut down on plastic consumption.
2. Give away your old umbrellas
Umbrellas provide shade and keep the homeless cool in intense temperatures. Homeless people usually sleep in the day, so an umbrella can save them from severe sunburn, overheating and heatstroke.
3. Buy sun cream
Help homeless people avoid skin damage with a high factor sun cream. Some sun creams can be quite expensive, meaning the homeless are unable to afford it.
4. Hats and sunglasses
Hats and sunglasses are fantastic to donate to the homeless as it keeps the sun off their faces, as well as protect them from the glare of the sun. Sunglasses will also help protect their eyes from developing a visual impairment such as cataracts.
5. Baby wipes for sanitation
A homeless person may not know the next time they will have a shower so supplying them with baby wipes can help them to have a quick clean and wash away any germs. This can also help them avoid infections such as athlete’s foot, which is caused from walking around barefoot.
6. Connect them with a charity
Sleeping rough in the summer can be just as bad as when it is freezing cold. If someone is in danger of heat-related stress, for under 25s you can call the Centrepoint helpline for free on 0808 800 0661 and if they are over 25 you can call Shelter for free on 0808 800 4444 who will help them find accommodation. Or, you can introduce them to the charity Street Link who will help them find day centres in their area as well as provide food, water and clothing.
A lot of people living on the street do not have the basic items needed to survive, and helping provide these items can have a big impact on their lives.