ARE YOU HOMELESS, SOFA SURFING OR AT RISK?

A teenage boy looks on from a bench. With your help, we can help give homeless young people a future

Helping the homeless in the cost of living crisis

There are few things more rewarding than helping those who need us. Those who take the time and effort to find ways of helping the homeless embody the very best of us. However, the current economic climate is making it more challenging than ever for people to find ways to help.

A recent UK parliament report has found that inflation could reach its highest level recorded since 1992. Consumer prices in December 2021 were up 5.4% compared with the previous year, and domestic gas prices also went up by 28% between January and November 2021. With wages not growing nearly as fast, the chasm between earnings and the cost of living is growing at a seismic rate, leaving thousands to increasingly cut costs to keep themselves afloat.

This is a nationwide crisis: it affects us all, but certainly touches some more than others. So, how can you help homeless young people if you don’t have the resources to donate your own money?

How helping homeless young people changes lives

During the current cost of living crisis, it remains more important than ever that we find a way to help vulnerable young people. The importance of this was outlined in Centrepoint’s A Year Like No Other report, which highlighted a 33% increase in demand for Centrepoint’s Helpline services since the initial Covid lockdown in March 2020.

Centrepoint’s Databank found that in 2020/21, there were 122,000 young people either in the UK who were homeless or at risk of homelessness. For many homeless young people, a little bit of support at a time when they need it the most can make all the difference. There have been so many fantastic success stories that Centrepoint have seen from the young people that use our services.

Take Ryan’s story, for example: In the middle of his GCSEs Ryan became homeless, and remembers feeling like there was nowhere to go for support. Ryan spent three months sleeping rough, and often got on night buses to stay safe and warm. After getting help from Centrepoint, Ryan was the recipient of Centrepoint’s bursary that helps young people get into training, employment and education. “The bursary helped me purchase books and uniform that I needed for a work placement working with animals which was absolutely fantastic,” he said.

Cameron is another young person with an inspiring story. After sleeping rough and sofa surfing following a family breakdown at the age of 16, he left home. But after getting help from Centrepoint Cameron was able to finish a college catering course and is now working as a sous chef. He has since praised the help he received from Centrepoint and the support he was given on his journey.

Finally, there’s Mitak’s story. Mitak received help from Centrepoint after leaving the care system and has now written a book about his life, as well as opening a marketing business. This goes to show how young homeless people can transform their lives if they are given access to the support and care that they need and deserve. Any help that people can give – not just raising money, but also awareness for Centrepoint’s services – will only help to create more stories like these. 

How to Help the Homeless in 2022

Helping the homeless during the cost of living crisis can come in many forms. It is perhaps sometimes felt that donating our own money, however much we can afford, is an effective way to help. Whilst that is true, there are certainly ways in which donating your time can be even more effective than donating your money. There are many ways to get involved and help homeless young people. Here are just a few of those. 

Take part in Sleep Out

Donating your time can be just as effective as donating your money when it comes to helping the homeless. So, why not challenge yourself into taking part in our annual Sleep Out event, raising money and awareness for the issues that homeless young people experience.

Sleep Out is a fundraising challenge that can see people camping out with their friends, sleeping out in the office with colleagues or even with your family at home in the garden. It won’t be the most comfortable sleep you’ve ever had, what other time can you say you’ve raised money in your sleep?

Get involved with volunteering

Last year, Centrepoint was helped in its mission to help homeless young people by a variety of people from a range of backgrounds. They gave up a collective 22,000 hours of their time, getting involved with a whole host of activities and making a major difference to the lives of many young and vulnerable people. Rather than donating your money at a time when the cost of living crisis might be forcing you to tighten your financial belt, you could become part of the next wave of Centrepoint volunteers. Click here to find out how to apply. 

There are plenty of volunteering opportunities in places like Manchester, London, Barnsley, Sunderland and Bradford. Our guide to the application process can help you through all the steps you would need to take if you were to apply to become a volunteer. There are also many benefits to volunteering with Centrepoint, including personal and professional development, peer support and rewards and recognition.

Donate food/old clothing

If you have any clothes you’re no longer getting use out of or any spare food that you might have, then these can be easily donated. Perhaps if buying non-perishable items in the Supermarket on deals where you get one free, consider donating that free item to a local food bank. There is also always an opportunity for you to donate clothing, bedding, toiletries and more.

Start your own fundraising activity

If you’ve got a creative idea rattling around in your brain, what could be more rewarding than seeing that idea come to life? It can be silly, sincere, fun or full-on – whatever your idea, Centrepoint can help to provide support and advice around your fundraising idea, so register your idea today!

What to do if you’re being Impacted by the Cost of Living Crisis

It was recently reported that by 2024 the homeless population in England is set to increase by a third. If you’re facing difficulties during this time and are concerned about being at risk of homelessness, it is vital that you get in contact with your local council as soon as possible – it is their responsibility to offer you support with finding accommodation, should you require it. Local charities will always be on hand to provide the support and advice you need. 

It can feel overwhelming to know what to do and how to help in such trying times. Here Centrepoint, it’s our mission to ensure that all young people aged 16-25 who are at risk of homelessness get the support that they need. Should you need any help or advice you can get support right now from Centrepoint’s dedicated team.

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