Cerys WhiteWe have all seen Big Issue sellers on the streets selling magazines and homelessness charities campaigning from city centres to door to door fundraising, but we often ignore these people and charities because homelessness is such a wide spread problem that we know we can’t solve on our own.

We all have been told to be more grateful for what we have in life but still, when we pass homeless people when we are out, most of us just ignore them. It seems to me that we do this because homelessness is such a big issue that we feel helpless to stop it even after we give money to a homelessness charity or buy a big issue magazine, but we need to realise that even these small actions can really help to reduce homelessness.

The homelessness that we see on city streets is just the tip of the iceberg of the scary issue that is homelessness. Homelessness ranges from applying for homelessness assistance from the government and sleeping on a friend’s couch or staying in an overcrowded hostel to sleeping rough in cold, damp cities. Homelessness is unavoidable because it can happen to any of us, 1 in 10 people in the UK experience homelessness at some point in their lives. Especially with the recent snow and freezing weather, we can’t imagine how hard it must be to be homeless. Homeless people nearly freeze to death in the cold without any warmth or shelter when we are sitting comfortably at home or playing out in the snow, while we are enjoying hot warm meal homeless people are struggling and often can’t even afford food everyday let alone a hot meal and whilst most of us are safe at home, homeless people face violence and the fear of violence everyday because of how vulnerable they are.

Most of us have heard people rant on about how they think homelessness is caused by people drinking and doing drugs by choice, but this is not always the case because homeless can be caused by many things including physical and mental problems, lack of affordable housing and life experiences like abusive relationships. Even though some people are homeless due to alcohol or drug addictions, we can’t ignore the fact that people turn to drugs because of mistreatment and underlying issues and therefore it would be wrong of anyone to blame someone for being homeless without knowing anything about their life or experiences.

Despite the dire problem that homelessness is, there are many ways we can help to reduce homelessness and improve lives. There are various charities that you can donate to or volunteer with including crisis and shelter but if you can’t donate or volunteer for any reasons you can still write to , email or call your local council or MP to tell them why you think our government needs to do more about homelessness or you could ask your family and friends to donate via a homeless charity or sponsor you in a group or individual fundraising activity.

To conclude, homelessness is something that we can no longer avoid and simply try to forget about. The first step is becoming aware of the problems and confronting it but then we need to do something about it on an individual and societal level. There are so many things that we can all do to reduce homeless that it is inexcusable to ignore it and not even try to make it better. You can start small like buying a big issue magazine because doing something will always be better than doing nothing.

These are some useful links if you want to find out more: