Why we shouldn’t ignore homeless people in Liverpool
We see them everyday, let’s be kinder to them
We're probably all aware that Liverpool, the city we call home, is known for its visible homeless population. Whether it be on a night out, or on the way to waste your student loan in Liverpool One. I'm sure we all have the same instant reactions when we encounter someone sleeping rough. "I'm a student, I can't afford to give money to everyone I see." "How do I know that they won't spend it on drink or drugs?" "I only carry my card and that won't help."
Despite the excuses we make, the concern is still there. So, if you find yourself feeling guilty for not sparing a quid or two, here's a reminder of the things you can do to make life easier for someone living on Church Street.
Buy them a hot drink or food
If you've ever been in the queue for the Raz past midnight, you'll understand how freezing Liverpool can really get. With winter on the way, the biggest risk to rough sleepers is the cold. Something as simple as a latte from Maccies or even your fries from Nabzy's can get someone through the day and the even colder night. Just try and keep in mind that you'll be going home to a warm(er) house and a cup of tea – someone on the streets won't be.
Support The Big Issue
If you can't justify giving your money away for nothing, you could always pay the £2.50 for a Big Issue magazine. Vendors buy magazines for £1.25 and sell them on for twice as much. This makes them business people, not beggars, so perhaps spare the price of less than a pint in the guild this Friday and support someone's livelihood. Common places to find sellers are Bold Street and opposite Ranelagh Street McDonald's, and they're always friendly!
Just be friendly!
In the moment, it seems easier to blank someone rather than explain why you can't spare some coins, and that's understandable. The reality is that most homeless people are always up for a chat, even if you can't help them out with money.
Ian, a man we spoke to from Bootle, has been homeless for 6 months. He's often sat in L1 with a sign that reads 'god bless you,' something he was saying to everyone walking past us (whether they were sparing change or not).
Ian mentioned that an average day on the streets is "staying in a shelter from late evening until morning", then spending the daytime finding "whatever food and drink you can whilst keeping out of trouble." He also said that shelters "aren't always the safest places," which makes sense if you think, they take in a lot of struggling people and emotions run high.
So, if you can spare a minute and a smile, someone sleeping rough might benefit from some kind words and some sympathy. Chances are they're kinder than most people, and who knows, helping someone out might bring you some good karma!
If you want to be of even more help, check out charities like @shelter. If you or someone else is struggling with homelessness, you can call Shelter on 0808 800 4444 (or 0808 1644 660 if it's an emergency).