Towns and cities everywhere have people who, mostly through no fault of their own, are homeless and have to make a living on the streets. Fortunately most places also have projects associated with helping the people struggling with these conditions. These projects all need homeless volunteers to help run them and maintain them. The difference these schemes make on peoples’ lives is huge.
Homelessness is the most advanced form of housing need. It does not always mean sleeping on the street though; some may sleep on different friends and families sofas. Others are living in only temporary accommodation, often in crowded and dirty conditions. With the future not clear to people they can find it hard to get settled.
Often it is assumed that homeless people do not work, this however is not the case. Usually it is a more than just one factor which causes someone to become homeless. Those who struggle to get by on a low income, even when working full time, may succumb to unforeseen events such as forced unemployment or illness. This may mean that rent isn’t paid on time and they are evicted, and it can be difficult to find alternate accommodation if someone does not have any close family.
There are many different projects and schemes, relying on volunteers, which are available to help people left in these kinds of situations. Some focus on the day to day needs, they try to provide dry clothes and bedding for warmth; hot food and drink; medical attention and places to sleep. There are those which provide advice and information to people, as well as offering training schemes for people to increase their employment skills. There are also as mentioned, temporary accommodation schemes which will house people for short periods of time, though this are often crowded and hard to get into.
Volunteering can be highly rewarding, and the tasks and jobs which are available to do are very varied, so there are lots of opportunities for people to help whatever their personal skill set. Driving, serving food to people, talking to people, helping out with admin tasks, listening to people and even setting up shelters for a short period are all areas where help could be used. Organizations are often willing to accept help in many different areas, so it is always worth contacting them and seeing where help is needed and offering any skills which you may have.
If people consider volunteering it can be worth having a good think about what you can offer and what you can do best. There is always training available to help, and a good support service of other volunteers is also on hand if needed. The projects often depend wholly on the services of volunteers so people should put themselves forward only when they can be fully committed to the service.
The amount of time a volunteer can give is also a very important factor. It is not necessary that someone must help out seven days a week, but they must be committed to what they will say they can do. The organizations involved in running projects will spend much resources and time in organizing volunteers, so they will expect commitment in return for this.
Other benefits are also available for those who volunteer. Not only will your work be greatly appreciated but potential employers will also take into account any sort of volunteering you have done. A great deal of contacts can also be gained in this manner, as well as inter personal skills being developed. It is a great to develop yourself and experience new things which could be useful in the future.
As stated there are many things which can be gained from volunteering in this sector. Volunteering can be a good way of testing the water in the field if you maybe wish to pursue a career in the field, and there are paid jobs available, usually in administration and organization. It is worth looking around different organizations as some will offer training and development, and offers will offer mentor sessions for the volunteers. Any help given to any of the organizations will be highly appreciated, whatever the reasons may be for doing so.
With the current economic climate and many homes being repossessed homelessness is once again on the increase. Homeless volunteers are always needed and always given great thanks for their help and time. Volunteering is a great way to develop yourself, not only in providing skills for future employment but by increasing self confidence and inter personal skills. Many people have done things they thought they were not capable of doing by being a volunteer. In conclusion there are no down sides to offering yourself as a volunteer, it allows you to help people in a way in which you would greatly appreciate being helped if you were in their situation.