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Working with the Homeless

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 17 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Working With The Homeless Voluntary Work

We’re all very familiar with seeing homeless people on the streets of our cities and towns. Some of us might feel sympathy with them and offer them some loose change or even buy them a hot drink or meal but the reality is that the majority of us will simply walk on by without so much as a thought or a second glance. We all tend to take the fact that we have sufficient food to eat and a warm safe bed in which to sleep very much for granted.

However if you’ve ever sat down and thought about what it is REALLY like to be homeless – it is quite a scary proposition and it could happen to any one of us. There are many ways you can volunteer to help with the homeless and to give your time and effort to this cause can be very rewarding for both the volunteer and the homeless person alike.

Helping out at a Shelter

There are many types of different shelter where you can volunteer your services. There are those for the elderly, battered women, drug addicts, children and single mothers – all of which are crying out for volunteers to help them. You might be signing in new residents, helping with counselling the homeless, assisting with providing the homeless with information on how and where to get aid from the likes of social services, for example.

Within these shelters will be a variety of people. There may be those who have become ‘institutionalised’ to living on the streets and simply may want to stop by for a few hours to get warm or to get a hot meal and others who might be ‘resident’ and using the shelter as a stepping stone on the way to achieving a place of their own and becoming more self-sufficient. These places can often bring both volunteers and the homeless very close together spiritually in our understanding of the basic human needs of warmth, food and shelter.

Working in a Soup Kitchen

These provide one of the basic necessities of survival in providing food and drink for the homeless and others who may be disadvantaged and heavily rely on volunteers to help with preparing meals, picking up the food from suppliers, serving the food and cleaning up afterwards.

Using your Work Skills and Hobbies

Voluntary work with the homeless need not just be about ensuring that they have the basic sustenance to survive and it involves far much more than simply keeping them alive. Every one of us will have a skill gained through work or a hobby that can help the homeless. Doctors, dentists and other medical staff, for example, can help treat the homeless in clinics and lawyers will be able to help with any legal matters the homeless person might be experiencing.

You may have a skill gained through a hobby like photography, for example, and in some cases, not only might that inspire a homeless person to want to learn more, it can often kick start them into believing more in their own skills and there are many success stories of homeless people who have gone on to forge successful careers as a result of being inspired by a volunteer in this kind of way. So, teachers as well can play a part in this in their spare time.

Supporting Independence

There will be those who have finally broken free of the ‘homeless’ tag and may have found independent accommodation of their own. And, whilst this is a positive step on their long road to independence, they might need help with simple tasks such as learning how to balance a budget or help with paying household bills, or helping organise washing, cleaning, shopping and cooking duties for them until they can do it for themselves so there are plenty of opportunities to help people in their own homes too as well as in shelters.

Escorting on Trips

A number of charities will often lay on transport to take the homeless on a day out to relieve them of the pressures of their predicaments for a while. You may wish to volunteer your services as a driver or an escort to help them on their day out.

The Importance of Showing Respect

The only way that you can successfully help the homeless is to show them the same degree of respect that you would show to anybody. Each and every one of us has talent and skills and a homeless person’s skills might simply be lying untapped through years of neglect, abuse or illness. By supporting them in the right way, you can help to build up their trust and confidence and help to bring their talents to the fore, which can be very rewarding indeed for you as a volunteer.

Organisations to Contact

To find out more information about ways you can work with the homeless, contact organisations like Shelter, Crisis, Centrepoint, Hope Worldwide, Emmaus, the Depaul Trust and there are many others too which you’ll find on the internet.

Does your Organisation Help the Homeless?

If you run a charity or non-profit organisation that helps with the homeless and you are looking for volunteers, please email us with your details (the email address is on the contact us page). We are often asked for information relating to certain areas of the UK in our comments section especially by those who want to volunteer at Christmas time, so we will be happy to include your details in our responses.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Rubs- Your Question:
Hey I was just wondering if there was anywhere about in Essex near basildon or Billericay for me my mum in the evenings after 6 if that’s okay wanted to give back

Our Response:
You could try Basildon Churches Together - Project 58
Or
The Basildon and Thurrock Samaritans
VoluntaryWorker - 18-Apr-18 @ 3:29 PM
Sorry what I was sayinging was for v volunteer work
Rubs - 17-Apr-18 @ 6:59 PM
Hey I was just wondering if there was anywhere about in Essex near basildon or Billericay for me my mum in the evenings after 6 if that’s okay wanted to give back
Rubs - 17-Apr-18 @ 6:54 PM
AmallyW - Your Question:
Hello,Me and my friend want to know if there is anywhere we can help out in Manchester for 16 year olds, maybe in a soup kitchen or anything that we could help/volunteer

Our Response:
Here are some organisations you could try contacting:
Coffee 4 Craig
or
The Booth Centre
Barnabus Manchester
VoluntaryWorker - 17-Apr-18 @ 12:55 PM
Hello,Me and my friend want to know if there is anywhere we can help out in Manchester for 16 year olds, maybe in a soup kitchen or anything that we could help/volunteer
AmallyW - 16-Apr-18 @ 7:13 PM
Biff - Your Question:
I would like to volunteer to help with homeless people on weekends and occasional weeknights.ive never done anything like this before.im 44 and generally fit.i drive. I just want to give sometjing back to the community. I live in carmarthen.im a practical man so hand on would suit me thanx and God bless.

Our Response:
Make contact with one of the following organisations:
Shelter Cymru
The Wallich
Volunteering Wales
VoluntaryWorker - 4-Apr-18 @ 12:27 PM
David - Your Question:
Hi,I live in Pitsea (Essex) and would love to work/volunteer in the evenings at any food bank in or around Basildon, Wickford, Leigh on Sea or anywhere in Essex really if I can. I would be most grateful if you could point me to some organisations that do this in my area as it's really hard finding any on the internet.Thank you and God bless.David

Our Response:
The Trussell Trust has a search facility which should help you find one in your location The Basildon Foodbank is in Pitsea Leisure Centre
VoluntaryWorker - 3-Apr-18 @ 10:45 AM
I would like to volunteer to help with homeless people on weekends and occasional weeknights.ive never done anything like this before.im 44 and generally fit.i drive. I just want to give sometjing back to the community. I live in carmarthen.im a practical man so hand on would suit me thanx and God bless.
Biff - 1-Apr-18 @ 11:08 PM
Hi, I live in Pitsea (Essex) and would love to work/volunteer in the evenings at any food bank in or around Basildon, Wickford, Leigh on Sea or anywhere in Essex really if I can. I would be most grateful if you could point me to some organisations that do this in my area as it's really hard finding any on the internet. Thank you and God bless. David
David - 30-Mar-18 @ 1:18 AM
Dawnie - Your Question:
Hi I have really wanted to help the homeless for so long & now I have the time to do it.I live in Rotherham so Sheffield,Barnsley& Doncaster would be the places I could help.Please could someone tell me who to get in touch with as I have been looking all over the internet but its not clear on how you can help thanx Dawn x

Our Response:
Here are some organisations to contact:
Sheffield Help Yourself Sheffield Help yourself has lots of contact information for soup kitchens and help for vulnerable people
Nomad Sheffield
Email Sheffield shelter at Sheffield_hss@shelter.org.uk
Emmaus Sheffield Roundabout
Doncaster Night Stop
Riverside homeless volunteers
VoluntaryWorker - 5-Mar-18 @ 2:59 PM
AnnaM - Your Question:
Hello. I’m interested in volunteering in some form of soup kitchen around the Wakefield/Leeds area. Please let me know if you know of anything. Thank you!

Our Response:
Here are some organisations in the Wakefield and Leeds areas that we know of:
Wakefield Baptist Church Night Shelter
Foundation UK
The Saviour Trust
Simon on the Streets -offers street-based support for those in need
St Georges Crypt -a Leeds charity working with the homeless, the vulnerable and those suffering from addiction.
Email hello@streetwiseloveleeds.org.uk - an organisation providing a loving environment, food and clothing to some of the most vulnerable adults in Leeds
VoluntaryWorker - 5-Mar-18 @ 12:03 PM
Hi i have really wanted to help the homeless for so long& now i have the time to do it .I live in Rotherham so Sheffield,Barnsley& Doncaster would be the places i could help.Please could someone tell me who to get in touch with as i have been looking all over the internet but its not clear on how you can help thanx Dawn x
Dawnie - 2-Mar-18 @ 9:37 PM
Hello. I’m interested in volunteering in some form of soup kitchen around the Wakefield/Leeds area. Please let me know if you know of anything. Thank you!
AnnaM - 2-Mar-18 @ 10:19 AM
There is currently an old homeless guy shivering freezing and hungry sitting at the door of the BP petrol station on queens drive Liverpool in need of help. I wish I had more than just a pot noodle for my packlunch to give him
Pobstaheef - 8-Feb-18 @ 9:16 AM
I am interested in helping the homeless in some way in the Wakefield west yorkshire area can you please offervsome advice
Mel - 21-Jan-18 @ 7:42 PM
Sarah - Your Question:
Hi thereI have a bit of extra time I'd like to dedicate to any sheffield charities in the new year (and on New Year's Eve/day if needed)Happy to consider any, especially lesser known, if you can point me in the right direction?Many thanks in advance

Our Response:
Here is a variety of ideas:
Sheffield Volunteer Centre
Sheffield Children's NHS
Sheffield Mind
Sheffield Wildlife Trust
Sheffield Roundabout Youth Housing
VoluntaryWorker - 3-Jan-18 @ 10:01 AM
Tim - Your Question:
I've been looking for a non religious based homeless charity on the Wirral for sometime now without success.I used too volunteer with the Whitechapel centre in Liverpool but am looking for something closer to home.

Our Response:

Most of the homeless organisations are christian/mission based. Here are some that aren't affiliated to any religion:
Wirral Foodbank (not strictly a homeless organisation of course)
Crisis Skylight Merseyside
Shelter Merseyside
VoluntaryWorker - 2-Jan-18 @ 12:27 PM
Hi there I have a bit of extra time I'd like to dedicate to any sheffield charities in the new year (and on New Year's Eve/day if needed) Happy to consider any, especially lesser known, if you can point me in the right direction? Many thanks in advance
Sarah - 30-Dec-17 @ 12:23 AM
Hi, I was wondering if there was anywhere in Staffordshire particularly the stoke-on-trent or Newcastle under lyme area on New Year’s Eve to help out? Thanks.
Soph - 28-Dec-17 @ 1:30 PM
I've been looking for a non religious based homeless charity on the Wirral for sometime now without success. I used too volunteer with the Whitechapel centre in Liverpoolbut am looking for something closer to home.
Tim - 24-Dec-17 @ 7:15 AM
Hi I would like to volunteer in Christmas day in Tameside area. Please contact me if you have anything. I would love to help with homeless people
Aga - 21-Dec-17 @ 1:55 PM
Emmar - Your Question:
HiAre you aware of anywhere my partner and I can help out in the Halifax or West Yorkshire area on Christmas Day?

Our Response:
Here are details of some organisations we know about:
Christians Together
Halifax Salvation Army
Halifax Street Angels
VoluntaryWorker - 20-Dec-17 @ 3:05 PM
Lisa - Your Question:
I would like to work Christmas night within a 30 mile radius of B62 area. Are there any shelters I can contact? Thank Lisa

Our Response:
try:
Birmingham City Mission
Birmingham Christmas Shelter
Sifa Fireside - a local charity that does a lot for the homeless
Maggs Day Centre
Bromsgrove Basement Project
The Homeless Foundation
VoluntaryWorker - 20-Dec-17 @ 12:57 PM
Martin - Your Question:
Hi Would like to volunteer Christmas Day in the wakefiled area.

Our Response:
Below are some organisation that we are aware of in the Wakefield area:
Wakefield Baptist Church Night Shelter
Foundation UK
The Saviour Trust
VoluntaryWorker - 20-Dec-17 @ 12:25 PM
Jen - Your Question:
My husband and I would like to help in a soup kitchen on Xmas day. I am helping out different charities and would like to help the homeless people. Anything in Middlesbrough/ Stockton on Tees?

Our Response:
Here are some organisations you could try:
The Moses Project
A Way Out
Bridgehouse Mission
VoluntaryWorker - 20-Dec-17 @ 11:20 AM
Hi Are you aware of anywhere my partner and I can help out in the Halifax or West Yorkshire area on Christmas Day?
Emmar - 20-Dec-17 @ 8:39 AM
I would like to work Christmas night within a 30 mile radius of B62 area.Are there any shelters I can contact? Thank Lisa
Lisa - 19-Dec-17 @ 6:36 PM
Ryan - Your Question:
Hi,Me and my girlfriend want to know if there is anywhere we can help out on Christmas Eve maybe in a soup kitchen or anything that we could help make a difference really, I am in the Wakefield area

Our Response:
Here are some organisations we are aware of:
Wakefield Baptist Church Night Shelter
Foundation UK
The Saviour Trust
VoluntaryWorker - 19-Dec-17 @ 3:31 PM
Hi Would like to volunteer Christmas Day in the wakefiled area.
Martin - 19-Dec-17 @ 3:11 PM
My husband and I would like to help in a soup kitchen on Xmas day. I am helping out different charities and would like to help the homeless people. Anything in Middlesbrough/ Stockton on Tees?
Jen - 19-Dec-17 @ 1:05 AM
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