Wellbeing & Wellness
5 Simple Ways To Help The Homeless In A UK Heatwave
Here at Clooper, we are passionate about giving back to everyone in the community. That is why, as temperatures soar to dangerous levels, our thoughts turn to how we can help the homeless.
Rough sleepers are far more vulnerable to dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion, made worse by the fact that they often cannot stay indoors to keep safe. Here are five quick and easy ways that you can help this summer.
1. FOOD AND WATER
This is by far one of the easiest, and most crucial, ways to help the homeless. Dehydration is a very real threat to those without homes or shelter, and without the proper amount of fluids their health can decline rapidly and they can be stricken with heat exhaustion, putting them at great risk for heatstroke. Purchasing multi-packs of bottled water and handing them out will help keep them hydrated and therefore, safer. Rough sleepers can also refill these water bottles at water refill points and drinking fountains in future, keeping them safer for even longer. A little really does go a long way!
Food is of course also essential to the health of the homeless. When purchasing food or meals to help during these times, remember to prioritise those with high water content: namely fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumber and oranges. On the same note, try to avoid foods that dehydrate further. Meals high in sodium, sugary drinks and caffeine should not be a priority.
2. DONATE YOUR OLD PROTECTIVE ACCESSORIES
Umbrellas, hats, sunglasses – oh my! All the things often found discarded around the home. While they sit unused in our houses, there are those less fortunate that could thoroughly benefit from them.
Umbrellas and large-brimmed hats offer shade and protect the head, which is absolutely vital to keeping rough sleepers safe when they have little or no other shelter to turn to. Gathering up your unwanted accessories to share with those less fortunate is a simple yet potentially life-saving act. It could make the difference between a week of comfort and a week of misery for the homeless community by protecting them from heatstroke and heat exhaustion.
3. SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN
Sunblock creams, mists and sprays can be easily accessible for us, yet quite costly for those who have very little. Without it, they run the risk of sunburn, which can lead to more serious health conditions if left untended to or worsened by further exposure.
SPF of 30 or more is recommended in order to efficiently block 97% of the suns UVB rays.
Whether you buy extra bottles to hand out, have some spare, or simply offer your own: this simple act of kindness can keep our homeless community happier, more comfortable and most importantly safe in the heat.
4. HYGIENE WIPES
How many times have you thought during this heatwave: ‘wow, I can’t wait to jump in an icy shower later’? I know I can barely keep myself away. For rough sleepers, this isn’t an option, and a decline of hygiene exacerbated by the heat can lead to health complications down the line.
Many baby wipes and hygiene wipes are readily available for cheap in local supermarkets and corner stores. A lot of them are becoming biodegradable also, which benefits our environment as well as everyone living within it. By handing out packs to the homeless, you can help ensure that they stay comfortable and clean throughout the summer.
5. SIMPLY SAY HELLO!
So many of the homeless community suffer from mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Heatwaves can make people fatigued and irritable and further attribute to the decline of mental health. Sometimes simply saying ‘hello’ or sitting with someone who is homeless (socially distanced, of course!) could make a world of difference. Ask them how they are, or if there is anything they need.
A lot of the homeless community have little, or no, friends to talk to or rely on. By doing something as effortless as smiling at someone on the streets, you may be giving them a small amount of joy to get them through the day that they might not have had before.
Find out more at clooper.com