5 Amazing projects helping the homeless

BY Laura Dean-Osgood

1st Jan 2015 Life

5 Amazing projects helping the homeless

Homelessness is on the rise in the UK, and an ongoing issue for concern worldwide. We’re looking at some of the innovative global projects designed to provide shelter, or help turn around the lives of those faced with sleeping rough.

Life-changing coffee, London

Life changing coffee
Image via Change Please

This new project, backed by the Big Issue, is providing homeless people with work in a booming industry.

Change Please is harnessing the nation’s love of coffee by setting up a number of mobile coffee trucks and paying homeless people the living wage to run and work at them.

The project goes beyond simply providing shelter, and gives workers the opportunity to provide for themselves so they can get off the streets and back on track. 

Change Please also underwrites the tenancies of its workers so that they are able to secure accommodation in a rental market that is impossible to enter without a deposit.

After six months, the charity will help the person secure a full-time job with an established coffee chain. It is hoped that Change Please will help around 200 homeless people a year.



Mobile laundry service, Australia

mobile laundry service
Image via Orange Sky Laundry

Two friends in Brisbane, Australia, have started a mobile service to help homeless people keep their clothes and bedding clean.

Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi, both 21, set up the mobile launderette with two washing machines in the back of a van, powered by a generator.

The aim, they say, is to restore the dignity of people sleeping rough and ensure their basic right to hygiene. A year and a half after setting up, Orange Sky Laundry now operates in six cities across Australia, powered by donations and the help of hundreds of volunteers.

But it doesn’t stop at clean clothes, the project is aiming to pair up with food vans, so that those visiting can get a good, hot meal while they wait for their belongings.



Awareness-raising shelter, Canada

Rain City Vancouver
Image via Rain City

A housing charity in Vancouver, Canada has found a novel way to both raise awareness and keep the rain from the city’s rough sleepers, which amount to nearly 2000 people.

RainCity teamed up with Spring Advertising to create a bench that folds out to provide a simple shelter.

Though they’re not a permanent feature in the city, they have certainly done their part in raising awareness of the problem of homelessness in Vancouver and worldwide.

They gained a great deal of media attention in light of the ‘homes not spikes’ backlash following the decision of a building in London to install spikes on its boundaries to deter rough sleepers.



Pop-up homes for families, London

pop up homes for families
Image via Lewisham Council

A new development of 24 ‘pop-up homes’ has been constructed on the site of a former leisure centre in south London.

Unhappy that the site would remain unoccupied for several years before permanent housing was built, Lewisham council had the temporary two-bedroom homes erected.

PLACE/Ladywell will house families who would otherwise be placed in bed and breakfast and temporary accommodation.

The housing is created from factory-constructed blocks, which can be dismantled after use and rebuilt in another location—therefore providing an affordable and enduring solution to the many unoccupied pieces of land across the country.



Finding space in usual places, London

HAWSE London
Image via HAWSE

An architectural firm’s proposal to turn disused parking garages in east London into pop-up homes has won funding and is in the process of planning.

Levitt Bernstein’s design, entitled HAWSE (Homes through Apprenticeships With Skills for Employment) won a building design competition run by the Building Trust, a charity dedicated to providing homes to those in need around the world.

HAWSE makes the most of unused space in highly populated areas by inhabiting disused garages on existing housing estates and providing not only a home, but the opportunity to learn about construction techniques.

The Building Trust have also secured funding for a number of other innovating housing solutions in Cambodia and the Thai/Burmese border, including housing and schools projects.



Remember, if you do see someone sleeping rough you can alert Street link, a service that aims to connect homeless people with the local services available to them in the their area.


Feature image via Change Please