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Working with the Homeless

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 21 Jan 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]
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
matthewroyal - Your Question:
I'm based in Reading. Are there any shelters or charities that need help over Christmas?

Our Response:

Here are some oranisations you could try in and around Reading
Launchpad Reading
Open Kitchen
Reading Salvation Army contact: karen.coggs@salvationarmy.org.ukor phone 0118 959 0681
VoluntaryWorker - 18-Dec-17 @ 3:37 PM
Nic - Your Question:
Hi I was hoping you could tell me where my family and I can volunteer in a soup kitchen in Plymouth on Christmas Day?Many thanks

Our Response:

Here are some organisations we're aware of:
Shekinah
Plymouth Soup Run
Alabaré
VoluntaryWorker - 18-Dec-17 @ 2:31 PM
Nj - Your Question:
Any help to volunteer for homeless in accringyon

Our Response:
Try the following organisations in your area:
Maundy Relief
Blackburn Night Safe
Pendle Action Safe Space Rossendal
VoluntaryWorker - 18-Dec-17 @ 2:27 PM
Vs - Your Question:
Are there any places looking for volunteers this Christmas in East Sussex?

Our Response:

Surviving Christmas
Hope Kitchen
SJA - Hastings Homeless Service
VoluntaryWorker - 18-Dec-17 @ 12:44 PM
Amyvic - Your Question:
Hello I am in between Thirsk and York - 3 family members would love to help out this Christmas. Can you let me know where? Thanks in advance

Our Response:
Here are some organisations in York that we know of:
York Arc Light
Carecent
Salvation Army - c/o Central Methodist Church St Saviourgate, YO1 8NQ York, 01904 545096
SASH UK
York Road Project
VoluntaryWorker - 18-Dec-17 @ 12:00 PM
Jules - Your Question:
I was wondering if I was able to help out this xmas in a soup kitchen in the Darlington / Stockton area, I have found myself on my own this Xmas and would like to help others if I can.

Our Response:
Here are some organisations that you might try:
Here are some organisations you could try:
Darlington 700 Club
First Stop Darlington on tel: 01325 371792
Foundation Darlington
Bridgehouse Mission
VoluntaryWorker - 18-Dec-17 @ 11:37 AM
Hi I would like to offer to volunteer for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day if anyone knows of any church or soup kitchen or anything else could you please let me know in Staffordshire area. Thankyou.
John - 18-Dec-17 @ 10:12 AM
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
Ryan - 17-Dec-17 @ 7:25 PM
I'm based in Reading. Are there any shelters or charities that need help over Christmas?
matthewroyal - 16-Dec-17 @ 10:15 AM
Hi I was hoping you could tell me where my family and I can volunteer in a soup kitchen in Plymouth on Christmas Day? Many thanks
Nic - 15-Dec-17 @ 7:35 PM
Any help to volunteer for homeless in accringyon
Nj - 15-Dec-17 @ 6:52 PM
Are there any places looking for volunteers this Christmas in East Sussex?
Vs - 15-Dec-17 @ 5:54 PM
Hello I am in between Thirsk and York - 3 family members would love to help out this Christmas. Can you let me know where? Thanks in advance
Amyvic - 15-Dec-17 @ 3:36 PM
I was wondering if I was able to help out this xmas in a soup kitchen in the Darlington / Stockton area, I have found myself on my own this Xmas and would like to help others if I can.
Jules - 15-Dec-17 @ 2:04 PM
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