If you buy this month’s very exciting, Land of Diversity award-winning, 88.5-point limited edition, £1 from the sale of your bag will go to Single Homeless Project.
The charity does incredibly important work, helping 10,000 Londoners every year to tackle the underlying causes of homelessness. We spoke to Chris Greenfield, partnerships manager at Single Homeless Project, about how your coffee can support them with their mission.
Chris, thanks for joining us today and taking time out from your busy schedule. Can you tell us, in a nutshell, what Single Homeless Project does?
We’re a London-based charity, and we have been tackling the underlying causes of homelessness since the 1970s, when we were founded by a group of six people experiencing homelessness. We aim to prevent homelessness and help vulnerable and socially excluded people to transform their lives and move into independence.
What will be the charity’s focus this autumn?
As the nights get shorter and weather becomes colder, we begin to focus on getting people off the streets and into temporary accommodation for the winter.
As the winter and Christmas is our busiest period, we began the planning in the summer and will be getting everything in place to support people throughout this time. This includes ensuring every person gets a Christmas present and dinner, because we firmly believe Christmas is for everyone.
October will also see the launch of our first ever kitchen and catering project that will offer weekly sessions for people experiencing homelessness, teaching them how to cook using surplus food from the local community.
The food will be freshly prepared before being sent out to hostels and other community organisations that help feed people. Everyone taking part will gain cooking skills, as well as health and safety accreditations to support them into the catering and hospitality industry. We are all really excited about the start of this project!
What’s the biggest challenge caused by the cost-of-living crisis to those at risk of homelessness over 2022 and 2023? And how much more common has homelessness become as a result?
This year has been the toughest that we can remember for people, especially as most are not receiving the same level of support that we had during the beginning of the pandemic.
The rising energy prices last winter saw many people struggle to keep up with payments, and we were helping to pay for essentials, such as food, just so they could keep the lights on.
This year we have seen rents rise at an astonishing pace that most people are unable to keep up with. It has led to many people becoming homeless for the first time, and every study and metric available to gauge levels of homelessness has been increasing at an alarming rate this year.
We are working closely with other organisations and local authorities to ensure there is a safety net for people that are struggling.
How can the typical person do more to help?
Homelessness is challenging because there are so many complex issues that lead to it, meaning there isn’t one single thing we can do to solve the problem. However, there are things people can do in their daily lives to help support people to play a part in tackling the problem.
If you see someone on the streets, then I would always suggest saying hello and asking how they are. People often feel invisible and it can be demoralising to have so many people ignore you.
If you can do more then getting someone a hot meal can be a real help. If someone is on the streets and looks like they are in distress then you can contact Streetlink to alert the correct authorities to come and help.
I would also urge anyone to contact your local MP to ask them to raise the issue with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The renters reform bill is intended to give tenants much needed protections, but it does not seem to be a priority for the government.
More political pressure needs to be put on the government to offer the support that is needed for hundreds of thousands of people.
Finally, support our mission at SHP by offering a small donation to help someone pay for an emergency item. You can easily do this by visiting the SHP shop.