London Offers Homeless Shelter from the Storm

London’s only free homeless shelter, appropriately named Shelter from the Storm, operates on donations alone with a team of volunteers and no money from the government. They provide access to rehab and detox programs as well as dinner and breakfast to 36 people every night of the year. Homelessness affects hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, for many reasons. Some are drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill or simply fell on hard times.

Some are running from bad family situations, human trafficking, or government oppression. Regardless of their circumstances, Shelter from the Storm accepts everyone and anyone in need. The shelter partners with Kids Company, New Horizon, The Red Cross, and The Metropolitan Police Trafficking Division.  These groups help the homeless find work and medical treatment so people can get back on their feet and become productive in society.

Many negative perceptions of homeless people exist in the minds of the general population, not just in London but everywhere. Descriptions like lazy, unintelligent, weak, and incapable are often used to describe the homeless without ever actually knowing anything about their lives or their histories.  Rosie Holtum is trying to change this perception.

A volunteer at Shelter from the Storm, Rosie Holtum is a young British photographer who was inspired to change the way people view the homeless. Her project involved taking striking black and white photos of homeless people she met at the shelter. The idea was to photograph them in the way they wanted others to perceive them and shatter all of the negative stereotypes surrounding people in their situation.

Creative and bold, the photos bring to life images of who these people want to become and can become with a little help from places like Shelter from the Storm. The images will resonate with a lot of people because they contrast so starkly with the ‘normal’ image of homeless people that most viewers have in their minds.

Reducing homelessness by helping those in need is something every nation should be focusing on and developing policies for. Breaking through stereotypes and shedding light on the truth of the ordeals that people live with every day is the first step to finding and implementing a solution.

The healthier the people of a nation are, the healthier that nation is as a whole. No group of people should be left behind or worse, left unsheltered and forgotten. Shelter for the Storm and Rosie Holtum’s photos bring that idea to life with her photo project, and everyone can open their eyes to see her point. Citizens can learn to help others in their own way, it does not matter how much money they have, artistic talent, or influence.

Kaitlin Sutherby

Sources: Huffington Post: Black and White Photos, Shelter from the Storm, Mungos
Photo: Wikimedia