Instead of charity, here’s how you can show ‘solidarity’ to homeless people in London this Christmas

Homelessness Streets Kitchen
Steve Topple

A grassroots homelessness movement is organising what it says will be London’s “largest homeless outreach” this Christmas. And in line with the group’s ethos, it aims to offer “solidarity, not charity” this winter. Here’s how you can get involved.

Give a “shift”

Streets Kitchen’s ‘Give a Shift’ homeless outreach is happening on Friday 22 December from 11am to 6pm. The event is happening at Euston Square Gardens in NW1. Streets Kitchen says:

We are asking as many people as possible to join us and assist on this special, simple Christmas outreach in London.

We are not asking for your money but simply ‘stuff’ that keeps people alive

Please bring the bare basics for survival on the streets, warm clothes, sleeping bags, socks, underwear, toiletries…

Also at the event will be StreetVet. It offers a free veterinary service to homeless people and their dogs across London. And on the day, Streets Kitchen will be collecting wet dog food and warm coats for people’s animals.

Streets Kitchen also needs help on the day, sorting items and immediately getting them to homeless people in the capital.

Homelessness is a problem that’s spiralling out of control both in London and across the country.

A spiralling crisis

As The Canary previously reported, the latest figures for England show that [pdf, p1]:

  • Between 1 July and 30 September 2017, there were 15,290 statutorily homeless households, up 2% on the same quarter of last year.
  • On 30 September 2017, the number of households in temporary accommodation was 79,190, up 6% from the same date last year, and up 65% on 31 December 2010.

Also, the number of households in temporary accommodation was the highest it’s been since 2007 [xls, table 782, row 54 vs row 15, column D]. And the number of families with children in temporary accommodation hit its highest level since 2008 [xls, table 782, column F – row 52 vs row 16].

In London alone, figures show that the number of rough sleepers has increased by 1% year-on-year, to 2,659 on any given night. Also:

  • The number of rough sleepers classed as “living” on London’s streets was up 16% on 2016.
  • Intermittent rough sleepers who spent occasional nights on the streets were up 7% on the same period in 2016.

Homelessness: solidarity not charity

Streets Kitchen told The Canary:

Don’t you think it’s rather bizarre that we are not asking for money? Well, we’re asking for solidarity.

This is a simple urgent response that can and should be replicated everywhere and anywhere across the UK.

Homelessness is a year-round crisis. But by doing this event at Christmas, Streets Kitchen will be giving some comfort to hopefully dozens, if not hundreds of people across London.

Get Involved!

– Support Streets Kitchen; find out more about Give a Shift; and, if you can help on 22 December, email [email protected] or tweet @streetskitchen.

Featured image via Flickr

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