Salvation Army UK and Republic of Ireland Helping the Homeless
Sometimes the low in someone’s life can seem to be a constant cycle of despair, repeating the same detrimental habits, having no self-worth or regard for anyone who cares for them, allowing negative emotions and impulsive decision-making to lead them on a downward spiral towards nothingness.
It’s hard being succumbed to the unfortunate circumstances of life, everyone has fallen into a similar rut at some point, probably caused by problems inherited from the surrounding environment growing up.
People tend to have preconceived notions about an individual when their suffering and society’s judgment can be overwhelming to someone that’s vulnerable because nobody wants to show their emotional pain and the weakest parts of themselves to the public.
For the homeless, there is no privacy or comfort, just the uncompromising reality of living in constant deprivation, enduring intolerable climates and the malevolence of other desperate people.
The series of events that lead to someone’s homelessness along with the day-to-day struggle of being homeless often gets overshadowed by initial perceptions.
Even when doing everything possible to move in the right direction, there are temptations and persistent threats around every corner. Hitting rock bottom can make a person want to embrace the negative aspects of their environment and ignore their conscience.
There’s a lot of shame in being lost in life but there’s also a lot of pride and unwillingness to change. Each person has their own difficulties and only they know what their pain feels like and how to best move forward in life.
But this doesn’t mean there can’t be empathy, comfort, and guidance for those who are most vulnerable because everyone needs that from time to time.
In the UK and the Republic of Ireland, The Salvation Army has many programs to take care of the homeless and aid them in getting their lives together.
With the uncertainty of sleeping rough in freezing temperatures on the streets of England, it’s nice to have a warm and comforting place to stay. The Salvation Army has several drop-in locations serving hot food and coffee in a judgment-free environment where homeless people stop by regularly. One drop-in location on 10 Princes St in London, finds fulfillment in serving and caring for anyone who walks through their front doors.
These locations are not only crucial for the homeless but also for those in the local community who find themselves at risk of becoming homeless. In 2020 Statista reported that there were over 10,000 rough sleepers in London, which is a number that has been increasing since 2013. The Salvation Army is focused on preventing homelessness since it’s so hard to get out of.
Many of the drop-ins have computers so people can set up claims for universal credit or search for jobs, and staff is there to connect people with the right services to help them maintain good habits and independent living.
The Salvation Army Life Houses provide long-term accommodation for the homeless, aiding individuals in finding a place to stay and in taking action to move forward with their life. Social workers seek to understand the different needs and wants of the people that come in for support, that is why they take the time to listen, love, and forgive.
Sometimes the only thing that’s necessary is solving someone’s immediate need for housing, while other times there is emotional trauma that requires time and patience to recover. This can be a long process because many of the homeless are drug dependent, mentally ill, or just don’t trust anyone.
Click here to see some of the stories of the people who got their lives together after homelessness.
Homeless Recovery Stories (The Salvation Army UK and Republic of Ireland).
The Salvation Army Life Houses offer both short-term and long-term rooms to stay in, also having programs and daily activities that help people develop good habits. This includes programs to develop a stable budget, skills for employment, and a sober lifestyle along with daily activities like cooking/eating, artistic endeavors, and self-reflective writing.
Click here to find the nearest Life House in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
When somebody is ready to move into their own place The Salvation Army provides low-cost furniture packages, ensures that the water and gas/electricity are working, and sometimes sets up a Universal Credit claim to make sure the accommodation is paid for.
In Scotland and Wales, The Salvation Army runs a program called Housing First which is for people that can’t live in supported accommodation or in their own community. The idea behind the program is to prioritize stable housing, that way it’s easier to address mental health, substance abuse, or whatever is setting back the individual. There is a small number of people that need this program but that number is increasing, and The Salvation Army wants to provide assistance before its gets to the point where vulnerable people are left to sleep rough on the streets.
It’s all about making sure these people can live a fulfilling life in a stable environment. Here’s a video of someone who lives an independent lifestyle because of the Housing First service.
The freezing temperatures of England mean long, miserable, and morbid nights for the homeless.
During the winter season, The Salvation Army sets up a variety of night shelters that contain lots of makeshift beds, some of the shelters offering a warm meal and a place to shower.
Although these night shelters are only temporary accommodations, they help in securing housing and employment, along with providing access to mental health and substance abuse services.
The volunteers and workers take the time to understand an individual’s situation in order to equip them with the right resources, because of this they end up building a lot of close relationships, especially with the people that stay homeless year after year. So it becomes a personal thing when the homeless suffer or end up passing away in the middle of the night.
Here’s a video of a Salvation Army Night Shelter in Ilford doing what they can to address the homeless problem.
Thanks for reading,
For more info visit the The Salvation Army UK and Republic of Ireland website.