Already in spring, people without permanent residence were particularly affected by the corona pandemic. In a detailed blog post in April, we pointed out many ways in which you can get involved with homeless people despite the restrictions.
Now, with the start of the cold season, these people are not only suffering from rising infection rates but also from falling temperatures. Many homeless shelters, which are important places for refuge during the cold season, are currently unable to fully utilise their capacities because they too are subject to stricter hygiene regulations. Thus, the mobile Kältehilfe, which can be found in many German cities, is all the more important for supporting homeless people.
WHAT DOES THE MOBILE KÄLTEHILFE DO AND HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT THEM
In the time from 1st November to 31st March (and sometimes beyond), Kältehilfe buses are on the roads in many German cities to provide people without permanent accommodation with regular supplies of food, hot drinks and sleeping bags. Many Kältehilfe initiatives have set up regular tours or meeting points for this purpose, thus giving people a common place where they can not only warm up but also exchange about their everyday worries and problems. The local Kältehilfe is organised differently in each region. Read here how you can support it in your area.
USE THE KÄLTEHILFE HOTLINES FOR PEOPLE IN NEED
If you are outside in the city during the coming weeks, keep your eyes open for people who are suffering from the cold and may need help. Even if it takes some effort at first, talk to them in a friendly way and ask if they need anything. If the person concerned wants to accept help, you can directly contact Kältehilfe buses in some cities. They will note the location and arrange for initial supply. For serious cases, you should call 112.
SUPPORT THE MOBILE KÄLTEHILFE BY DONATING
In order for the Kältehilfe buses to regularly provide homeless people on their tours with warm drinks, food and e.g. clothes, they depend on donations. You can see exactly which donations in kind or money are needed on the websites of the respective organisation.
MOBILE KÄLTEHILFE IN YOUR AREA
If your city is not listed, you can find more (mobile) Kältehilfe initiatives with a simple search engine query for “Kältehilfe (or Kältebus) + city” (e.g. via ecosia.de).
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED IN OTHER WAYS
Donate for initiatives for homeless people on Betterplace.org
In addition to the Kältehilfe buses, there are a large number of projects throughout Germany that care for homeless people and that you can support with a donation. These include projects to provide clothing and meals, streetwork stations for street kids or a centre for homeless women. You can find a good overview of the different projects and funding needs on the donation platform Betterplace.org.
Donate clothing at local institutions
In many German cities there are a number of institutions/shops with fixed locations where you can make donations in kind for homeless people. These include, for example, the Motz shop or the Stadtmission in Berlin. You can also find local organisations in your area by simply searching for “Homeless clothing donations + your city”.
Please note that the needs of each organisation are different. In any case, it is worth taking a quick look at the website or calling them to find out what things are actually needed.
Get involved in projects for homeless people yourself
For the cold season, many emergency shelters are looking for additional support from volunteers, who help out in emergency shelters, e.g. with the distribution of food and check-in of residents. If you would like to become active directly on site – of course in compliance with the Corona hygiene regulations – you will find a small selection of projects supporting homeless people on vostel.de.
Use or open up a gifting fence (Gabenzaun) near you
Beyond the initiatives presented, you still have the opportunity, to equip gifting fences with food, blankets or clothes, from which needy people can help themselves individually. You should make sure that the food is (still) good and that the clothes are suitable for the cold season. On the site Gabenzaun.de you will find an overview of the locations of gift fences throughout Germany.
We’ll keep you up to date
Through our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) we provide daily updates. Furthermore we keep you up to date on interesting projects and the latest needs of the world of volunteering.
If you yourself work for an NPO that also needs support, or if you know of a project in the field of supporting the homeless people, then let us know and write a short mail to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Your team from vostel.de