Volunteering in the homelessness sector by Emma Christie

Homelessness is an issue that has been consistently present both in politics and day to day society for many years. However, it has not been as prevalent as such a pressing (and growing) social issue might truly warrant. According to Shelter, one in every 200 people in the UK are homeless, estimating around 307,000 people are sleeping rough or living in inadequate housing.

Further, Shelter has warned that more than 1 million households are at risk of becoming homeless by 2020 due to rising numbers of families on low incomes and a reduction in helping schemes for those battling with homelessness. It is obvious this is not an issue that is currently being solved with any success at a governmental level.

So, what can we do? It is evident that positive intervention with homeless people is one of the most direct and successful ways to combat homelessness. The provision of charitable social housing and giving individuals a stable environment in which to rebuild their lives, while keeping them safe, is a fundamental way to reduce not only homelessness, but also the devastating effect it has on people's mental and physical health. Direct intervention, if it be by donating money or supplies, giving your time to a local charity, or, like DASH, providing shelter to the homeless, provides homeless individuals with a springboard towards a new way of life. 

Why volunteer with DASH? 

When speaking to existing volunteers about the appeal of volunteering with DASH, the ‘why’ is easy to find. The direct link DASH has with achieving real change in the local community, paired with the rewarding nature of being involved with this grass-root effect as part of the DASH team, makes it an ideal charity to get involved with. With volunteers ranging from students to chaplains to local people, the extensive DASH team is a friendly and warm way in to volunteering, making a true difference in the local community. In the last 30 months DASH has accommodated over 260 people, giving them not just shelter, but also an opportunity to rebuild their lives.

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