The combination of the cost-of-living crisis and the UK having its coldest day since December 2010 is leading to a health crisis, as 1.7 million households could be pushed into homelessness. Alice Bennett discusses homelessness in Nottingham and what students can do to help this winter.
With lower-income households being affected the most by the steep rise in energy bills, Crisis warns that ‘hundreds of thousands of low-paid workers could face homelessness and be left destitute this winter’ as rent, bills and food cost many low-income households more than their average monthly income.
78% of homeless people report having a physical health condition
Homelessness has been an ongoing problem since before the cost-of-living situation, made worse by stigma, anti-homeless sentiments and anti-homeless (or hostile) architecture. This problem is exacerbated by the current situation, meaning that even more people are experiencing homelessness in some form.
A consequence of the rise in homelessness is a health crisis; with 78% of homeless people reporting having a physical health condition compared with 37% of the general population. Organisations like Pathway and Crisis have emphasised that homelessness should be seen as a public health issue.
From donating to volunteering – no matter your financial situation, there are ways to contribute
This crisis also affects Nottingham, with an estimated 15 people sleeping rough on the streets and all emergency accommodation and shelters being full (though it should be noted that this is not always the case – many experiencing homelessness may be living with friends, staying in a shelter, or living somewhere unsafe).
However, Nottingham has several organisations that provide support for homeless people, which students can get involved with in a variety of ways, from donating to volunteering – no matter your financial situation, there are ways to contribute.
Framework is a Midlands-based charity helping a wide range of people with housing, health, care and employment services. They provide housing for those experiencing homelessness, whilst also helping them with issues that may have led to unemployment to help them in the future.
You can donate or fundraise to help out Framework, or volunteer in a variety of different roles.
Emmanuel House is an independent charity, supporting those who are sleeping on the streets and at risk of homelessness in Nottingham through ‘prevention, intervention and recovery’. The charity recently did a 12 Days of Giving, a ‘reverse advent calendar’ involving donating an item to those in need for every door opened. Again, you can donate or volunteer at either their Support Centre which includes working at their shop, or directly work with vulnerable people at their Winter Shelter.
Students may recognise the name from its collaborative effort with the University of Nottingham using one of its unused buildings as short-term emergency accommodation for those experiencing homelessness
SFiCE is a non-profit charity which helps homeless and vulnerable people in Nottingham, with their ethos based on being ‘non-religious, non-political and non-sectarian’. They opened their Homeless/ Social café in 2015 to combat food poverty in Nottingham and, after realising how many people at the café struggled with English as their second language, they began providing free ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) lessons.
Students can contribute to their clothing and food bank or volunteer at their café on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (open from 4pm-6pm).
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