Taken for Granted
Homelessness is a big issue all year round, but it is particularly problematic during the winter. No-one wants to be on the streets at any time of year, but during winter, when the weather is cold and the nights are long and dark, it can be a very dangerous place to be.
It might surprise you to learn that there is no real way of knowing for sure how many people are homeless across the UK. Many homeless people go under the radar and do not show up on officially recorded statistics at all. The number of homeless people and those living on the streets is constantly fluctuating, meaning it is almost impossible to record accurate numbers. Sadly, this means there are many people who go without the help they desperately need.
Helping the Elderly
All of this means that it can be very difficult to help those who are homeless – especially those who are most in need, such as the elderly. Charities and shelters do all that they can to help these people, from offering shelter and hot meals to providing support through the opportunity for homeless people to try and get themselves out of the vicious cycle of homelessness and poverty. But many of the elderly citizens socially isolate themselves and avoid asking for help, especially during the colder months.
So many of our elders often feel neglected and socially isolated – many of them afraid or too proud to ask for help. The seniors amongst us are those who helped to build our yesterdays and shape our tomorrow, so let’s not forget our elders in their time of need today.
More often than not, we take those around us for granted because what we fail to realise is what and who we have today, may not be around tomorrow. Pay attention to the elderly in your life, they may need your help or simply just your company but probably don’t want to trouble you for it.
The Homeless Across the World
Within the UK, there are specialist shelters and centres for the homeless set up and organised by charities and campaign groups, specifically to help during the winter and over the festive period. They provide a much-needed meal and roof over their heads, helping to ward off the winter chill and keep vulnerable people safe during the winter months.
Now, spare a thought for the homeless people of much more disadvantaged countries. This winter, vulnerable people in countries across the world are being put at risk by the threat of homelessness.
A 2015 survey in England reported that there were 3,569 people sleeping rough on a single night - to put that into perspective, according to the 2011 census in India, there were 1.77 million homeless people. Charities like Muslim Aid do all that we can to alleviate the numbers of homeless people both in the UK and in developing countries; doing our best to improve the quality of life for those who are living on the streets.
But when the scale of the issue is so large, it takes an incredible amount of resource and funding to tackle the matter effectively. Projects such as the Global Winter Campaign can really help to make a difference to the quality of life of these vulnerable people, but in order to support as many homeless people as possible, we need your help.
The best way to address the ongoing issue of homelessness is to start on an individual level. Share the love this winter and tackle the situation from the ground upwards – even managing to help just one homeless person– whether in a developing country or right on your own doorstep - should be seen as a triumph.
For more information on helping the elderly or our Warm Hearts Winter Campaign, give our team at Muslim Aid call on 020 7377 4200.