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Working with the Homeless

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 2 Feb 2019 | 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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[Add a Comment]
I would love to other my services to help in a soup kitchen, at weekends or evenings, from cooking to serving the needy hope to hear from you soon
Nicola - 2-Feb-19 @ 6:07 PM
Hi I form Papajojns in Cannock we love to help Homelessin Cannock please tell me how we do this thanks
Dal - 10-Jan-19 @ 8:22 AM
Would really like to help in anyway I can
Dave - 27-Dec-18 @ 7:41 AM
Hi I would like to help in any way I can. Please can you forward any information to me. Many thanks
Tracy - 25-Dec-18 @ 11:51 AM
I have no plans for tomorrow and would be very happy to offer my time in any form in Wakefield Leeds areas, unfortunayely I don’t have transport but live in lofthouse
Sappa - 24-Dec-18 @ 7:50 PM
We Would like to volunteer to help in any way on Christmas Day between 12-2 in the Darlington or County Durham area - 2 of us who could travel. Simon
Fozzy - 23-Dec-18 @ 7:58 AM
I would like to volunteer to assist with any sort of soup kitchen/ homeless initiative in Edinburgh over the festive period and potentially longer if its possible. If anyone has any opportunities or can put me in touch with someone that would be great.
Jamie - 22-Dec-18 @ 2:28 PM
Hi, I am free to help in any way xmas morning, cooking, serving meals etc maybe a soup kitchen. Nottingham area,
Jay - 20-Dec-18 @ 10:36 PM
I have no plans on Xmas day and would love to help out anywhere in sunderland
Terri Calvert - 20-Dec-18 @ 11:26 AM
Hi im free to help any days or night even xmas day so would love to help I live in Eastbourne Thanks baz
Baz - 20-Dec-18 @ 10:48 AM
My partner & I are free xmas eve to support in any way. We have our own transport & various skills to offer. We are based in Hailsham Near Polegate.
Tan - 20-Dec-18 @ 9:49 AM
Free to help out in peterlee Co Durham area Christmas Day from 12 . Would like to help in soup kitchen but will help with anything.
Mel - 19-Dec-18 @ 9:16 PM
I am looking to volunteer over the Christmas period as I have some free time this year including Christmas Day...Thank you
E - 18-Dec-18 @ 8:47 AM
I would like to offer my time to help homeless people on Christmas Day and over the festive period. Please advise if you need any help within the Essex area and I will be there
Dan - 17-Dec-18 @ 9:07 PM
I would like to volunteermy services over the Christmas and new year period anywhere in Ayrshire – it would be a privilegeto do absolutely anything that’s needed and can travel to different venues too.
Alice - 17-Dec-18 @ 6:36 PM
I would like to volunteer and help anyone in a domestic abuse setting this year. If it’s serving helping whatever as long as I’m helping someone. If this is not possible maybe helping the homeless in Barnsley please contact me
Matt - 16-Dec-18 @ 7:01 PM
I would like to volunteer on Christmas Day or during the Christmas break to help the homeless or anyone that is in need of crisis. I live in Essex. I’ve worked with the samaritans before. Please advice as to helps wanted Christmas Day either Colchester or Chelmsford
Sophie - 15-Dec-18 @ 5:48 AM
Currently in a homeless hostel myself, after experience of the horrors of sleeping rough, I really want to give something back... I'm York based, and don't drive, but I'm great at walking (and talking!!!) Anyone close looking for an extra pair of hands? I'll do anything, cleaning, cooking, serving, litter picking... there's nothing I'd turn my nose up at! Peace Jx
Jx - 13-Dec-18 @ 11:02 AM
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
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