How to Help Homeless People During the Heatwave
Weather forecasts are predicting temperatures as high as the mid-thirties this week, as the UK continues to experience very hot weather.
As we head out to enjoy all that Southend has to offer in the glorious sunshine, please do be mindful of vulnerable people, including local people experiencing homelessness, and particularly rough sleepers.
Homelessness is harmful to health all year round, but it can be particularly risky during extreme conditions, like the weather we're currently experiencing.
Gary Turner, Director of Service Operations at HARP, said: “Any form of extreme weather can be dangerous and even life-threatening to people living on the streets. Exposure to high temperatures without shelter or hydration can be extremely dangerous."
But there are things you can do to help if you are concerned about someone sleeping rough. Gary continued: "Items like water, sun cream and hats might seem trivial, but they can literally be lifesavers in very hot weather if offered to a rough sleeper or donated to HARP to be distributed to our clients. If you are concerned about someone you've seen sleeping rough, you can also contact Streetlink so that our Outreach Team can respond quickly, or, if the situation is urgent, emergency services."
Here's more detail on how you can help rough sleepers during hot weather.
Offer Water or Shade
If you see someone sleeping rough, you could ask if they need water or sun lotion, a hat or sunglasses, or suggest moving into a shady spot if they are in bright sunshine.
Donate Summer Items To HARP
Donations of bottled water, squash, sun cream, after-sun lotion and hats are in high demand at this time of year and can be brought to the Bradbury Day Centre on York Road. Summer clothing can also be donated at any of our charity shops and will be considered for our service users or sold in the shops with profits used to support our work with homeless people. You can find details of how and where to donate items here.
You can report the location of rough sleepers to Streetlink, a national rough sleeper reporting line which then sends the information to relevant local agencies, including HARP in Southend, who can then offer help to those in need. There’s even an app you can download for your smart phone or tablet.
Alert Emergency Services if Needed
If it looks like someone is in immediate danger, the best course of action is to contact emergency services by calling 999.