Changing a life starts with hello: Introducing the #JustSaidHi campaign

Other | Wednesday 16th January 2019 | Osh

On the cold streets of a fast-paced, screw-faced city like London, a sense of community is easily forgotten.  Society becomes an estranged concept, another entity to be blamed along with large corporations and the government. But society is us. Society is the community. It is you and me.

Over 75 rough sleepers died in London last year. Despite promises of help from the government, cuts in funding and delays in benefits have seen numbers of rough-sleepers rise, over 6000 people sleeping on the streets of London alone. As a society, we recognise the problem and quite literally face it on a daily basis, yet we, as individuals, turn a blind eye and distance ourselves from our fellow humans in their struggle.

From speaking with various members of the general public, it seems that the main reasons that the community doesn’t act by itself fits into two categories:

  • Fear, discomfort/social awkwardness

  • Doubt of authentic need, wariness of scams/cons

Both of these stem from the same issue – a lack of information, and unfamiliarity. Homelessness has many different levels and can be caused by numerous factors.

Sleeping rough normally results from a series of unfortunate life events causing a shattering ‘dominos’ effect. Often trauma and mental disorders come in to play as ‘cause and effect’ factors. One common factor is that ‘the system’ appears to have failed them and where some might have been lucky enough to find help in their personal lives, these unfortunate souls haven’t. We can help them. Individually, every day. Following the examples of many other cultures, and remembering the sense of community that is found outside of big cities, we can re-humanise the homeless and stop ignoring the problem.

With the support of Guestlist, the #JustSaidHi campaign aims to inspire and encourage the community to act. We should take personal responsibility and familiarise ourselves with the faces of the homeless people that we pass in the streets everyday.

Doesn’t it seem strange to you that you’ve seen this person’s face multiple times, but you’ve never said hi?

Do you know his face but not his name? Do you avoid eye-contact?

THAT IS NOT OK! When did we stop behaving like humans? Guestlist challenges YOU! Next time you pass somebody sleeping rough, just say ‘hi’ and ask them one question such as their name. If you can afford it, maybe grab them a hot drink too.

Then simply upload a photo of their name written on a piece of paper, with the #JustSaidHi in the post.

Every picture posted with hashtag #JustSaidHi and photo of a name will raise a 1p donation from ourselves and partners towards care bags for the homeless including socks, snacks and blankets in the coming coldest months.

Have fun whilst making the world a better place!

You + me = us. You + me = community.