Ellie Goulding has urged people to “stop and speak” to the homeless, to hear their “powerful” stories and realise it could “happen to any of us”.
The singer, who is supporting homeless charity Crisis, told Sky News that stopping to talk to someone sleeping rough or just asking their name makes a positive difference.
She spoke out after a visit to a homeless centre to urge her fans and young people to be “more conscious” that someone on the street is “another human being”.
“Interaction is such an important thing,” Goulding said, adding that Christmas is when many people feel “the most vulnerable and lonely”.
Crisis estimates more than 170,000 families and individuals in the UK are experiencing the worst forms of homelessness.
That includes people living on the streets, those who sofa-surf and sleep in cars and on public transport.
Goulding said that people who see someone on the street should give “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,” she added.
“Obviously, change and food does help too, but honestly, taking the time to show that you’ve noticed them… So many get ignored.”
Goulding also called on ministers to do more.
“Really it does need to come from the top, from the Government,” she said. “There needs to be more of a political force.”
It comes after new figures showed the number of homeless deaths rose by almost a quarter over the last five years.
Some 597 people sleeping rough or in emergency accommodation were estimated to have died last year in England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics said.
That represents a 24% leap from 2013.
A homeless man also died outside parliament this week.
Police have not named the man, but among the flowers and candles placed at the scene of his collapse is a piece of paper with “Gyula Remes 1975-2018” written on it.