Across the country, thousands of people and families are facing the prospect of not having a home this Christmas.
More than 180,000 families have lost their homes since the start of the pandemic.
Many, including those with young children, are having to stay in unsuitable temporary hostels.
Housing charity Shelter has warned that the country faces a ‘housing emergency’ this winter and has now launched a campaign to bring football together in the fight against the crisis.
This is where we come in. We are proud to be able to lend the support of our national titles including the Mirror, Star and Express and all of our regional titles, including the Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo and Birmingham Live to get behind this vital cause.
NoHomeKit has been supported by a host of EFL and non-league clubs donning their away shirts on Boxing Day and December 27 to raise awareness of the crisis.
We’re delighted to have partnered with Shelter for #NoHomeKit, which will also encourage fans of every club to wear away shirts to their team’s Christmas fixtures.
The number of rough sleepers in the UK is continuing to increase at a distressing rate, with plenty more also facing unsafe housing conditions, and Shelter continues to generate crucial funds to help tackle these issues.
This Christmas, thousands of fans will be heading to their teams’ home ground with a sense of identity, belonging and community.
No matter what we’re going through in life, heading to our home grounds represents sanctuary - a chance to forget about things and come together in support of our team.
In a way, it’s the same for our homes in general - they represent comfort, security, safety and a sense of belonging.
Yet, for many, this basic human right has either been lost or is under threat, and it’s time that changed.
So, make sure you don an away shirt on Boxing Day or December 27 and, if you’re asked why you’re not wearing your usual outfit, don’t be afraid to explain why.
By joining us in helping Shelter with #NoHomeKit, you’ll be helping raise awareness of the housing emergency.
You can also donate to Shelter and make sure vital funds are given to help preserve people’s most basic of human rights.
What is the idea behind the campaign?
Shelter has underlined its desire for the whole of the football community to join to fight what it calls a “housing emergency” this festive season.
The charity said it has chosen football as the vessel for its campaign due to the sport’s sense of identity and belonging, very much understanding the importance of home.
Shelter offers a number of services that aid those in need, including one-to-one help with housing issues, a 365-day free emergency hotline and free legal advice from its solicitors.
It also carries out important research on rough sleeping and unsafe housing cases so it can develop policies to try to solve these issues.
For every £1 that is donated, 79p is spent directly on helping people through advice, support and campaigning while 21p is spent on further fundraising.
What Shelter have said about it
Osama Bhutta, director of campaigns at Shelter, said: “We believe ‘home’ means everything.
“We want to use the positive power of football this Christmas, and our shared connection to we ‘home’, to raise awareness of homelessness and what we can all do to fight it.
“We want as many teams, players and fans as possible to join #NoHomeKit and work with us to help those experiencing the harsh realities of homelessness this winter.
“Everyone involved in #NoHomeKit can do something special by bringing the entire football community together to fight the housing emergency.”
Will clubs in the Premier League be taking part?
A number of Premier League clubs approached league bosses about taking part in the campaign.
But top-flight bosses stated in November that its clubs are unable to participate due to existing league rules that are in place.
Gary Neville, the former Manchester United and England full-back turned pundit, was among those to criticise the decision.
“Imagine refusing a request to raise money and awareness for homelessness,” he tweeted. “A Johnson-like U-turn on its way if the clubs push hard!”