When most people think about a person experiencing homelessness, they probably have a vision of someone sleeping in a doorway or on a street corner. But where are those rough sleepers when those corners are empty? How far do homeless people walk?

People who sleep rough walk between 10 and 15 miles every day, worldwide studies show. Every day they will pick up their beds and trudge mile after mile. Often, it’s to avoid abuse or perhaps boredom or because they are moved on by authorities.

As a result of those long walks and without proper footwear, the health condition of feet suffers. Research shows that due to the distance covered, ill-fitting footwear and a lack of access to clean socks, people experiencing homelessness suffer from infections and ailments usually found in marathon runners. But without access to the same medical care as those athletes, the condition of their feet can deteriorate to such an extent that it can eventually limit their mobility.

Pull on your walking (or running or cycle) shoes

To help raise awareness of homelessness and the miles people have to tread, Oasis Community Housing is setting a challenge – Mile In Their Shoes.

From 2 March to 14 April 2022, the homelessness charity is encouraging people to get sponsorship to walk a ‘mile in their shoes’. Over 40 days you will cover 40 miles and receive 40 motivations or reflections from the charity, into your inbox, to help spur you on.

Oasis Community Housing’s Chief Executive, David Smith, says, “Many people simply do not realise how far people facing homelessness have to walk. Without a place to call home, they have no other choice but to wander the streets to access support, find food, to keep warm or simply to keep safe.

“During Lent, when many people give something up, we’re encouraging people to take something on instead and walk a mile a day for 40 days. If you can’t walk, you could cycle or skip – but, whatever you do, we’d love for you to join us in raising money to support those people who pound the streets looking for hope.”

Get involved

To take part or for more details about Mile In Their Shoes, fill in our Mile In Their Shoes sign up form.

As part of Mile In Their Shoes, there is also a one-off lunchtime wellbeing walk taking place around Newcastle Quayside on Friday 25 March. Attendance is free and drinks and a light lunch will be provided. Please register on our events page.

If you would like to know more about other ways to help Oasis Community Housing raise funds and help end homelessness, visit our Get Involved page.