On Campus

7th March 2022

Help The Homeless – International Women’s Day Events

International Women’s Day is fast approaching on the 8th March. To fundraise for Refugee Women Connect, the Help the Homeless Society are hosting a concert. Various musicians and bands from across Liverpool and the university will be performing. The society encourages students to enjoy a night of music, whilst providing support to homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers.

Confirmed artists for the concert include: The Bobo Trio, Evie Moran, Rosie Cowell, Ria Hanley, Yasmin Jenkins, Birdhouse, Beige Savasna, Owen Brown and Shannon Pritch.

Help the Homeless Soc are hosting a range of events throughout Women’s History Month. This article will shed light on the ways you can help them to make a difference to homeless people’s lives.

The homelessness crisis in the UK

The devastating truth is that every single night, tens of thousands of people experience homelessness. For most of us, seeing people who are rough sleeping is a daily occurrence. You only have to walk to your local supermarket or through Liverpool One to realise how prominent the crisis is.

People become homeless for many reasons. These are just a few examples:

  • Social issues: a lack of affordable housing, poverty or unemployment.
  • Life events: relationship breakdowns with family or a partner, mental or physical health problems, or substance misuse.
  • Leaving prison, the care system or the army and having no home to go to.
  • Having escaped a violent or abusive relationship.

Being homeless can exacerbate many of these problems. However, in nearly all cases, homelessness is preventable. In every case it can be ended and that’s where Help the Homeless Society come in.

Who are Help the Homeless Society?

The Help the Homeless Society at the University of Liverpool are raising awareness, and funds, to tackle the crisis.

“A compassionate, active society who put making a positive change towards social justice at the heart of what we do.”

Help the Homeless Society

The society note on their Guild webpage that they were formed in 2013 by a small number of students. Their aim: to help homeless people in Liverpool. Now consisting of over 440 members, the society have incorporated supporting refugees and asylum seekers into their work. They are one of the largest societies in the Guild.

Help the Homeless Society is co-chaired by Jasmin Browne (for Homelessness) and Gabriella Cantwell (for Refugees and Asylum seekers). They can be contacted via the Society’s Instagram.

Jasmin told me what the society means to her and how the quote ‘kindness is free’ powers everything she does.

Being a part of the society gives you the education, confidence, and like-minded friends to help make the decision to take time for someone in need. 

Jasmin, Help the Homeless Society Co-President

What Help the Homeless Society have done so far

Or perhaps we should be asking the question of what they haven’t done. Receiving the monthly Help the Homeless Society newsletter fills me with hope. Hope that there are people out there who truly care and want to make a difference.

In semester one, they set up weekly donation points for The Whitechapel Centre’s Christmas appeal. Volunteers then sorted donations, distributing them to outreach teams, hostels, suffering families and other services. They also supported smaller charities such as Aid To All.

By eating the ‘rations of a refugee’ they raised £1,700, fundraising for Refugee Women Connect, The Whitechapel Centre and Concern Worldwide. Their ‘sleep out’ at home raised a further £62.

150 members participated in a Period Poverty session, putting together Christmas period packs. These consisted of pads, tampons and chocolate, amongst other things.

Perhaps most importantly, the society have tried to educate people on the topic. The Whitechapel Centre gave a talk informing students about what it means to be homeless. They covered approaching someone on the streets and reporting their situation, so they can get the help they need.

How best to help

Knowing what the best thing to do to help somebody who is homeless can be tricky. I’ve certainly debated it myself many a time. Co-president Jasmin acknowledges it can feel hard, especially as a ‘broke student’.

The answer is to smile, acknowledge people and take five minutes just to speak to someone. They could be living on the street. In a house of 15 people, being told they’re stateless. A struggling single mother, in a hostel, who has escaped domestic abuse. Anyone could be in the position of these humans

Jasmin, Help the Homeless Society Co-President

Ways to get involved

The society have a number of events coming up, which they would love for you to attend. These include:

  • Educational Talk – Speakers from PACE, Amnesty International, and parliament. The agenda focuses on struggles migrants have faced at the Poland and Belarus border during COVID. This event has received HEAR and extra law accreditation in conjunction with the Liverpool Law School. Monday 7th March 2022 at 10am, School of Law and Social Justice Building. Sign up here.
  • International Women’s Day Fundraiser Concert – Raising money for Refugee Women Connect. Tuesday 8th March 2022 at 5:30pm, Mountford Hall. £4 tickets are currently on sale, and non-UoL students are welcome too.
  • Food Delivery Service – The society collects food Monday – Friday from the Guild Shop and Starbucks. This is delivered to Mildmay House. More information can be found here.
  • Refugee Family Fun Day – The society’s biggest event of the year! Mountford Hall will be opened to refugees, asylum seekers, homeless people, and those generally struggling. The community will be provided with free food, music, face paint, sports activities, and entertainment. Tuesday 12th April 2022, Mountford Hall.

Equally, The Whitechapel Centre host many of their own fundraising events. They are currently organising a ‘sleepout’ at Liverpool Cathedral on Friday 8th April. It costs £5 and minimum funds raised of £50 per person to take part.

But events aren’t my thing…

Does the prospect of attending an event fill you with dread? Don’t worry, you can still make a difference. Help the Homeless Society is currently fundraising for Greggs vouchers. Their goal is to raise £300, offering 15 rough sleepers a £20 voucher. This will give them the choice of what they eat, for several meals. You can make a donation on their JustGiving page.

To educate yourself more on homelessness, Crisis’ website is a great place to start. The charity discusses the causes, violence, death rates, numbers and types all associated with homelessness.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by James Frid from Pexels