In the minds of many people, homelessness seems to be a pressing problem only in winter. Probably because the contrast between one’s warm home and the cold on the street is much clearer than in summer, when everyone is outside anyway. For this reason, homelessness is less noticeable in summer. On the other hand, the thought suggests itself that the warm temperatures make being outside much more pleasant. The truth is, however, that homelessness is just as big a problem in summer as it is in winter, but the difficulties are different.
Cold in winter, heat in summer
What the cold is in winter and the associated danger of hypothermia and the risk of freezing to death, the heat is in summer. Homeless people are often exposed to it without protection when they stay in one place to collect money or wander through the city. The supply of drinking water is not always the highest priority and it is not always easy to get it.
In addition, of course, there are also problems that persist all year round, such as displacement, violence, the lack of medical care and poverty. The only thing is that in summer there are significantly fewer permanent places to sleep in emergency shelters, the willingness to donate decreases and far fewer people get involved in this field. So life for people without a permanent home does not really get easier in summer.
Your support helps, even if it is small
You can support the people concerned with very small acts of kindness. You go to a supermarket where a homeless person is sitting? Just ask them if you can bring them a glass of water. Or maybe even surprise them with an ice cream on a particularly hot day. Small donations are of course just as welcome as in the cold season. And if you feel that a person needs support, don’t be afraid to approach them.
Support the census on 22 June in Berlin
The impression that the number of people without a permanent address has increased – not least due to the dramatic situation on the rental market as well as additional refugees without a permanent address – is not only subjective, but is also confirmed by organisations such as the Berliner Obdachlosenhilfe or the BAG Wohnungslosen e.V..
But how many and which people are we talking about? With a census on 22 June, the Berlin initiative Zeit der Solidarität wants to collect concrete figures and demographic data on homelessness in Berlin. With the help of the information, better help offers should be made possible and political solutions to combat it should be developed.
You can support the initiative by taking part in the census as a volunteer and walking fixed routes together with others under guidance. On the one hand, you document the number of homeless people, on the other hand you ask those who agree 5 anonymous questions.
Get involved in helping the homeless throughout Germany
Of course, there are many other projects in the field of homelessness that would be happy to have your support during the summer. Here you can find a selection of engagement opportunities in different cities.
Would you like to get involved in other areas of homelessness this summer? Then you can find more projects on vostel.de.
Your vostel.de team wishes you a great volunteering experience!