Salvation Army responding to cold weather with support for rough sleepers
published on 1 Mar 2018
The Salvation Army supports some of the most vulnerable people communities across the UK and Ireland.
This week, when temperatures have plummeted, the church and charity will be working with local charities and agencies across the country to open the lounges at our Lifehouses (accommodation for people experiencing homelessness) to provide rough sleepers with somewhere safe overnight. This provision will be open to anyone who needs it.
Its churches (corps) have also been assessing the need in each area they operate to ensure local need is met; a number work in conjunction with local communities to run winter night shelters, providing warm meals and a bed for people who would otherwise be sleeping rough.
Where accommodation for people who are experiencing homelessness is being provided by other organisations, other local initiatives are being led by Salvation Army officers, including evening or daytime drop-in services that provide meals and advice, as well as night-time outreach which identifies rough sleepers and makes sure they know where they can find a safe place to spend the night.
Malcolm Page, Assistant Director for The Salvation Army’s Homelessness Services said: “Rough sleeping is dangerous and cold weather can be very tough for people who are homeless. If you’re worried about someone sleeping rough, you can come to any of our centres where we can make sure the person is signposted to the help they need.
“There are also a few things practical things you can do. Buying a hot drink, some food or warm clothing like socks for someone sleeping rough can make a difference. Many homelessness charities, including ours, focus on looking at the root causes of homelessness and offer practical support – donating can help us with our work.
“If you see someone sleeping rough and you’re concerned – report it. We would suggest contacting StreetLink, which is a phone-line, website and mobile app available across England which enables people to alert local authorities to rough sleepers in their area. Give as much detail as you can – this helps the authorities find that person and connect them to local services and support available to them. Simply call 0300 500 0914, send an alert via the mobile app or log on to www.streetlink.org.uk.
“In other parts of the UK and Ireland, we would suggest the public visits their local council’s website for 24 hour assistance on what they can do to help someone who is sleeping rough or experiencing homelessness.”
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