I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about how lucky I am. I know I often whinge out loud about how tired I am, how busy, how broke etc, how the house is a mess and how the laundry pile is never ending but do you know what, actually, things are okay. For many they are not okay and I have become increasingly aware of those people over the past few years. World events that prick our conscience seem to be a regular headline on the news these days, and alongside that not a day goes by that don’t see another story of somebody closer to home who is struggling with something that actually could affect any one of us.
Homelessness is something close to my heart because I have seen first hand how easy it is for a family to find themselves without somewhere to call home. Tenants that lose a job and have nowhere to go when they finally get evicted by bailiffs. Landlords who come back from abroad and can’t get access to their houses because their tenants are those that have nowhere to go. Homeowners made redundant and unable to pay the mortgage and their house is repossessed. Families then in crisis accommodation that really isn’t fit for purpose but it is all there is.
Depressing isn’t the word for it. Nobody wants to be homeless. Nobody wants to sleep in a hostel and share a bathroom with ten strangers, least of all those with a family. Nobody wants to sleep on the street either and yet because we dont see these people on the street we forget they exist. We don’t see them so we don’ t know about them. We think that the only homeless people in this country are jobless addicts who are the architects of their own downfall.
Well that simply isn’t true.
According to the latest figures from Shelter 100,000 children in Britain will wake up on Christmas morning without a home and without hope, forgotten. One hundred thousand. That is the equivalent of four in every school in Great Britain
This year Shelter are asking us to do something to help those children. It is called Slippers for Shelter and it happens this Friday. Simply put, you wear your slippers to work, to school, or to the gym and donate £3 to Shelter. That is all you have to do. If ten of us do that we can then it means Shelter can help a family facing eviction.
Shelter have made a video about it and asked me to share it ahead of Slippers for Shelter day this week:
I was planning on doing this post this week and then I heard about the #BlogItForward campaign that Wayfair launch tomorrow, where if you’re blogging about a good deed in December this could trigger a £50 donation to Habitat for Humanity. Deeds can include any act of kindness, from buying a stranger a coffee, to giving a compliment, or helping an elderly neighbour.
If you are a blogger, please get involved.
So I decided that as well as doing my bit on Friday for Shelter I would do my bit for a stranger and after I had been into Tesco this morning I went to the coffee shop next door and gave the chap £10 and said it was for the next person who came in who looked like they needed a hot drink. Be they a regular they know is homeless, or a pensioner coming in from the cold. I didn’t really mind but I wanted to do my bit and #BlogItForward. I first heard about doing this when we were in Brick Lane earlier this year: suspended coffee it’s called. And I think it is such a simple idea that I try to do it as often as I can.
Today though as I read these statistics on the homeless and weather reports on Clodagh the super storm it really brings it home to me that there are people on our doorstep who really need our help and support right now. And if that starts with a hot cup of coffee whilst sitting in a warm coffee shop, where the recipient can feel they have some dignity and that somebody cares, that’s a job done for me. And of course I shall be donating the same again as I wear my slippers on the school run on Friday.