Online Help for the Homeless
While it may seem odd to be showing online help for people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming so, there are resources out there that people can use. Even people without an address can get online now. The library service in Worcestershire offer internet connected PC’s and access to charging points for smart phones.
If you are at risk of homelessness for any reason it is important not to ignore the situation and get help as soon as possible. It may be possible to avoid it altogether.
If you are at risk of becoming homeless the following organisations can offer advice and support:
Citizens Advice have a page dedicated to the help you can get from local councils and from the government.
The housing charity Shelter have a help page, with a live chat section allowing you to get information specific to you and your needs. They also offer a free phone helpline, which is open 365 days a year.
Age UK offer a 44 page Factsheet on help available for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming so.
Turn2Us have an online benefit calculator, this is a great way of checking you are getting the benefits and help you need. Even if your income or situation has not changed recently it is always good to check you are claiming all you are entitled to.
If you are homeless these sites may help:
Worcester City Council have a page showing the hostels and emergency accomodation offered within the city.
Wyre Forest District Council have a No Second Night Out policy, which includes a reconnections policy, which has been adopted so that rough sleepers from other districts can be reconnected where appropriate, so that they can more easily access services and support from their originating local authority.
St Paul’s Hostel offers emergency accommodation in Worcester, as well as advice, help and support.
Even if you are homeless it is still possible to claim benefits. This is more difficult if you do if you don’t have an address, but is still possible. Maggs Day Centre will allow you to use their address to receive mail, making the claims process a lot easier. If you are not local to Worcester or do not wish to use this service you can still claim, but may be required to attend the Job Centre on a daily basis to sign on. Speak to your local Citizens Advice office for help with a claim.
If you know someone who is homeless, or at risk, the information listed below can be useful in pointing them in the right direction.
Streetlink is a website and app that exists to help end rough sleeping by enabling members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.
If you are concerned about someone you have seen sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can use this website to send an alert to StreetLink.The details you provide are sent to the local authority or outreach service for the area in which you have seen the person, to help them find the individual and connect them to support.
As technology and awareness increase the help and support will get better. There are several new websites and apps designed to help people.
For instance NextMeal is a website pointing its London users to a place to access food and support near them. Greater Change is an app under development and trial in Oxford that allows people to donate money to a homeless person online towards a specific goal. This can be employment training or the deposit needed for rented housing.
These are not available in Worcestershire yet, but hopefully these will spread to our county soon.