Temperatures across the UK are set to dip well below freezing this weekend, with lows of -15 degrees.
While this might be unwelcome news for you, it marks the beginning of a desperate struggle to survive the cold weather for the estimated 3,000 people who sleep rough across the country every night.
According to the Streetlink website, here’s what you should do when you come across someone sleeping rough. It could save them from freezing to death.
— Hannah McCall (@HannahMinds) October 26, 2016
Streetlink is a nationwide service that dispatches outreach teams to homeless people, specifically rough sleepers, who are in danger.
You can help Streetlink by reporting an accurate location of anyone who fits this description, via their website, the app or their 24 hour hotline on 0300 500 0914.
This advice, from homeless charity and housing association St. Mungo’s in London, has been shared many times on Twitter. Although it applies to London, Streetlink’s outreach programme runs nationwide.
— Kat Brown (@katbrown) January 15, 2016
Homelessness has doubled since 2010, and homeless charities such as Shelter predicted the cold weather will pose a serious threat to lives.
It’s often hard to know how to help the homeless.
Do you give them food, or blankets? Can you spare a moment to lend them an ear, or get to know who they are?
The particularly British fear of offending someone or over-stepping a line, makes these encounters problematic to say the least.
But the homelessness epidemic is so visible in so many of the UK’s cities – from Manchester to Bristol to London – and now this definitive advice means we can all help, confident that we’re doing the right thing.