Ellie Goulding has urged people to interact with the homeless so they do not feel “ignored”, and has also called for the Government to put more effort into helping to ease the crisis.
The singer, who has supported homeless charity Crisis for several years, visited one of its centres in London on Sunday.
She said that “the interaction is such an important thing” for people who are homeless, and that the Christmas period is when many feel “the most vulnerable and lonely”.
Crisis estimates that more than 170,000 families and individuals in the UK are experiencing the worst forms of homelessness, including people living on the streets, those who sofa-surf and sleep in cars and on public transport.
The organisation said it expects more than 4,500 homeless people to visit its 15 Crisis at Christmas centres across the country over the festive period.
Goulding told Sky News: “If you see someone on the street that’s cold, anything you can offer them, an umbrella or a blanket or coat, but just that exchange and taking the time to stop and talk to someone, ask their name – sometimes they might not want to talk but if they do, do that.
“Obviously, change and food does help too, but honestly, taking the time to show that you’ve noticed them … So many get ignored.”
She said she had seen videos that were an “absolute disgrace” of homeless people being taunted and abused by revellers on nights out.
Goulding added: “We need to be more conscious of that person being a human being. Help each other and be more compassionate. If I can teach my fans and younger people that, I think it can be a nicer place.
“Donations help, you can apply to volunteer for next year and I think just being conscious and knowing that it’s a problem, a problem on the rise, and spreading that awareness and talking about it.
“I think sometimes it’s a problem people have to ignore, it’s so horrible to see and so sad.
“But really it does need to come from the top, from the Government. There needs to be more of a political force.”
The Love Me Like You Do singer, who volunteered at Crisis’ Christmas appeals in 2015 and 2016, said “there is a real misconception around homelessness”.
She said there was “still a stigma, that people have brought it on themselves – it’s not true”.
“It’s only a couple of mortgage payments or a broken down marriage for your life to turn around for the worst,” she added.
“It shows it really can happen to any of us and it’s not just what people assume, which is that people have ended up in that situation through their own thing.”
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “No one is meant to spend their lives on the streets, or without a home to call their own.
“That’s why we are investing £1.2 billion to tackle homelessness and have bold plans backed by £100 million to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it by 2027.
“And to stop people from becoming homeless in the first place, we’ve changed the law to require councils to provide early support for those at risk of being left with nowhere left to go, are boosting access to affordable housing, and making renting more secure.”