Leaflet - How to Help the Homeless
this winter - Preston version
Encounters With Homeless People:
Most of us only encounter homeless people when we see them in the streets of the city centre. We may notice them because they are begging, selling the Big Issue magazine or drinking in the street or on a park bench. It's easy either to ignore such people, or to make an emotional response, especially in cold weather or in the period before Christmas.
There are several problems with this approach. First of all it is a stereotype and it's unfair to label all homeless people as "down and outs". Secondly what you see in the streets fails to notice many more vulnerable people in
hostels, B&Bs or supported tenancies. You don’t see the hundreds of others
who just about get by, sleeping on friends sofas, in empty buildings, or are in
and out of institutions like hospitals and jails. Or the families who struggle to find a decent affordable home, or have lost a job and face repossesion of their home. Thirdly limiting one's perception of the problem tempts people to offering a simplistic response such as setting up an emergency shelter on the floor of a church hall and saying that anyone in need of a bed is welcome. Experience shows there are serious problems with most such schemes and the Preston Homeless Forum is convinced that this is not the right way forward in our city. Real long term solutions need to address underlying problems which include poverty, the failings of the housing market and for some people chaotic lifestyles.
What can you do to help?
There are five main ways to help; follow the links below: