Many local homeless shelters rely on volunteers to provide services, for example:
- Providing food – You might help by donating food to a local centre, collect local food from local businesses that donate unsold food at the end of the day, help prepare food for homeless guests or serve food.
- Providing overnight accommodation- Many centres rely on volunteers to provide overnight accommodation, especially in colder months of the year.
- Providing training and support services – You might help support a homeless individual to access healthcare, employment or social support. For example, you may help complete paperwork or attend appointments.
- Advocacy and campaigning – There are many myths around homeless. You could volunteer in your local area to give talks to local groups and organisations to promote the work of local organisations working with the homeless and the stories of the homeless individuals themselves.
Homelessness can occur for many reasons- from relationship breakdown, alcohol and substance abuse issues, employment issues and mental health issues and many more. Many shelters aim to get homeless individuals off the streets for good by providing solutions addressing some of the long-term causes of homelessness. In most cases this needs cooperation across multiple charities, businesses, citizen groups and organisations.