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Working with the Homeless

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 11 Dec 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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This yearafter watching a tv program. I decided to work overtime and buy threetins of roses and large bag ofdog treats.This weekend I’m in Manchester with my family. We’re going to hand out our Christmas gifts Mij
Mij - 11-Dec-18 @ 7:24 PM
hi I like to help out in the Eastbourne area on Christmas day
running faster - 11-Dec-18 @ 12:54 PM
I would like to volunteer my services to help out in a soup or food kitchen for the homeless on Xmas morning in or around the Cannock area.
Gra - 10-Dec-18 @ 7:36 PM
Hi there looking to help out on Christmas Day, not sure where to start. Leeds/Wakefield area. If anybody knows of anywhere I can help please do get in touch.
Kim - 10-Dec-18 @ 7:06 PM
I would be privileged to help out on a regular basis I run a food van near the Barnsley football club, Barnsley. Hope to hear from you soon as I’m eager to get started cheers Amanda x
Mand - 8-Dec-18 @ 4:00 PM
I am looking for a soup kitchen to help on a day with my 7 year old son near Farnham Surrey area. Can you advice pls?
Gg - 8-Dec-18 @ 11:04 AM
I’m free to help on Christmas Day - plymouth area
Max - 7-Dec-18 @ 7:35 PM
Hi I would be privileged to help out in any way possible over Xmas in the Darlington area. If there is any role I could then it’d be a pleasure. I don’t drive. I’ve got a broken shoulder at the moment but the won’t hinder what I could do, unless it’s heavy lifting. I hope I can be of some use. Thank you
Swalesey - 5-Dec-18 @ 7:46 PM
Hi I was wondering if you need any volunteers on Christmas Day , Boxing Day , New Years Eve , New Years Day .
Caz - 5-Dec-18 @ 4:09 PM
Hi are there opportunities to help volunteer with you on Christmas day in Middlesbrough?Please let me know as I would love to help! Many thanks lu :)
Lu - 4-Dec-18 @ 7:47 PM
My husband and I would like to help out Xmas period willing to do anything but I'm good in the kitchen. We live in Ayrshire . Thank you
Maggie - 3-Dec-18 @ 12:09 PM
Good evening, my husband (Mark) & I would like to volunteer to work/help on Xmas Day Eastbourne area.
Floss! - 2-Dec-18 @ 5:48 PM
I would like to volunteer in middlesbrough Christmas day
Donna - 1-Dec-18 @ 11:20 AM
My husband Neil and I would liketo help out on Christmas day serving Christmas lunch to homeless/vulnerable in our area which is Yeovil/ We can travel up to 25 miles. Thanks.
Sylvia - 30-Nov-18 @ 4:25 PM
I would like to help in any way I can by giving up time on Christmas eve and or Christmas day to do what ever i can to give homeless a better time of year. I'm in the Plymouth area... who's best to contact to help me get involved???
Pete - 29-Nov-18 @ 11:05 PM
Hi, my friend and I are hoping to be of use on xmas day somewhere in the North West (local to Wigan and M6 corridor). Never done this before but definitely interested in helping at a soup kitchen if needed. Thanks
Kie - 28-Nov-18 @ 9:08 PM
Five of us would like to volunteer in York on Christmas day. We would like help with Christmas Dinner but we are open to anything really. Thank you, Ellie
Ellie - 28-Nov-18 @ 9:45 AM
I would like to volunteer my services over the Christmas period in Basingstoke, I have done this kind of work in Oxford over a 5 year period which involved roving the streets for the homeless and persuading them to come to the centre for food, clothing, medical help.
Boomer - 27-Nov-18 @ 11:17 PM
Hi, I am wondering where I can help at a soup kitchen over the Christmas period near York. I also have lots of coats and jackets for the homeless if anyone knows where I can donate them. Thanks x
Sammy Jo - 27-Nov-18 @ 10:35 PM
Hi I would like to find out possible voluntary work in a soup kitchen on xmas day, I'm in the Recdar & Cleveland area Thanks
Shaz - 27-Nov-18 @ 3:33 PM
Want to volunteer with the homeless I’m 19 years of age and in my final year of collage doing health and social care I am free Thursday to Sunday and live in Widnes anyone needing help would love to hear from you I am willing to commit for the foreseeable future thank you in advance
Jade - 26-Nov-18 @ 7:22 PM
I would love to work in a soup kitchen around Christmas time around Wrexham area. If there are any opportunities to do so then that would be hugely appreciated. Thank you!
Liv - 26-Nov-18 @ 12:06 PM
Hi there, looking to volunteer on Christmas Day.... open to anything , I’m from Ayr in Scotland and would like to give back on a day most people enjoy but some people unfortunately dread. Thankyou:)
Rosie - 25-Nov-18 @ 10:34 PM
Hello i live in Middlesbrough and would like some information about volunteering in a soup kitchen or similar on Christmas Day in the area Thank you
Michelle - 25-Nov-18 @ 8:57 PM
I’m looking to volunteer in maybe a soup kitchen or a shelter but I’m open to suggestions, I will be free over most of December and possibly January and live in north wales Many thanks Tom
Tom - 22-Nov-18 @ 7:42 PM
Hi, I'm looking to do some voluntary work for you on Christmas Day,. I'm on my own, so thought I'd give my time & services, to those who need it most.Look forward to hearing from you .
Sammy - 22-Nov-18 @ 11:12 AM
Hi, I'm interested in helping out on Christmas Day.I'm on my own & thought how lovely to help & give my services & time to those who need it the most. Look forward to hearing from you. X
Sammy - 22-Nov-18 @ 11:10 AM
Would like to help on Christmas day and/or boxing day in Doncaster but struggling find someone to talk to about it. If anyone knows any opportunities to help. Please email me
Carla - 18-Nov-18 @ 7:53 PM
We would like to offer fresh cooked lobby, soup, minced pies, jam tarts for the homeless in Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire but are struggling to find someone to speak to. Could someone please contact me to discuss. Many thanks.
Deby - 15-Nov-18 @ 9:21 AM
Myself and my daughter both from the Preston (Lancashire) area would love to help any charities in need of help on Christmas Day , please please email me if we can be of any assistance
Kath - 14-Nov-18 @ 1:51 PM
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Latest Comments
  • Mij
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    This year after watching a tv program. I decided to work overtime and buy three tins of roses and large bag of dog treats. This…
    11 December 2018
  • WEBBA
    Re: Volunteer With Your Local Fire Service
    Hello there I am interested in joining the fire service. At this moment I am unemployed so have a lot of time on my…
    11 December 2018
  • running faster
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    hi I like to help out in the Eastbourne area on Christmas day
    11 December 2018
  • Gra
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    I would like to volunteer my services to help out in a soup or food kitchen for the homeless on Xmas morning in or around the Cannock…
    10 December 2018
  • Kim
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    Hi there looking to help out on Christmas Day, not sure where to start. Leeds/Wakefield area. If anybody knows of anywhere I can help…
    10 December 2018
  • Mand
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    I would be privileged to help out on a regular basis I run a food van near the Barnsley football club, Barnsley. Hope to hear from you…
    8 December 2018
  • Max
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    I’m free to help on Christmas Day - plymouth area
    7 December 2018
  • Swalesey
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    Hi I would be privileged to help out in any way possible over Xmas in the Darlington area. If there is any role I could then it’d be a…
    5 December 2018
  • Caz
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    Hi I was wondering if you need any volunteers on Christmas Day , Boxing Day , New Years Eve , New Years Day .
    5 December 2018
  • Maggie
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    My husband and I would like to help out Xmas period willing to do anything but I'm good in the kitchen. We live in Ayrshire . Thank you
    3 December 2018