Small Ways We Can Help End Homelessness
Published April 21st, 2021
Despite the many initiatives of both the government and the public sector, homelessness remains a big problem in the world. It’s not, after all, something that can be solved overnight.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something. Ending homelessness in our generation might be a long shot but it’s not impossible. With more than 150 million people experiencing homelessness worldwide, it won’t be easy. Besides, there are a lot of factors that contribute to the rising population of homeless people. As such, we still have a long way to go before any real and tangible change can be made.
Still, we owe it to all of humanity and future generations to try. When it comes to this fight, every effort counts.
What It Means to End Homelessness
Contrary to what you may think, homelessness can’t be solved by just handing people houses. To end homelessness means ending the social, economic, and political barriers that prevent people from having a place of their own. We need to dig deeper and address the grassroots issues that drive people out of their homes and into the streets. Some of the long-term solutions that will help prevent and end homelessness include:
- identifying people who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness
- instituting timely intervention measures to prevent people from losing their homes
- providing accessible supportive housing solutions particularly in vulnerable communities
- connecting people experiencing homelessness with non-profit organizations and transitional shelters that will help them get back on their feet
- integrate health care in homeless assistance programs to address chronic health and mental issues that often affect people’s ability to stay housed
What You Can Do To End Homelessness
While long-term strategies are needed to totally end homelessness, you can still help in your own way.
You may not have billions of dollars to build homes for every homeless person. But each individual effort, no matter how small, can go a long way.
Here are some ideas on how we can end homelessness in our own little ways.
1. Stop Stereotyping
Homeless people are some of the most stereotyped and discriminated people in our society. Admit it or not, most of us think that they are either too lazy to work or drug addicts.
But many homeless people are just victims of circumstances beyond their control. A lot of them have jobs but are not earning enough to live a decent life. Many of them are also suffering from mental illnesses stemming from childhood traumas.
So, before you stereotype homeless people, remember most of them did not have your connections and opportunities. Before you shrug them off as bums and deadbeats, try to put yourself in their shoes. A little empathy can go a long way.
Start by smiling at them. You have no idea how a simple, sincere smile from a stranger can help a person going through a tough time. If you have the time, try to start a conversation with someone experiencing homelessness.
Stop ignoring them or treating them as a disgrace. Reaching out to them helps break the stigma. If more and more people will understand what they are going through, it will open up society’s mind about the reality of their plight. The less time we spend judging them, the more time we have to help them.
2. Donate to Homeless Charities
Countless charitable institutions all over the country are fighting to end homelessness in their own ways. These organizations help give people experiencing homelessness a second chance at a decent life. You can be a part of the fight too.
Most of these charities are funded by donations. Even if you’re no Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos, you can still donate to them. Any amount, heartily given, is a huge help to ease their suffering. Some of the homeless charities in the US you can donate to are:
- Salvation Army
- Feeding America
- National Coalition for the Homeless
- National Alliance to End Homelessness
- Camillus House
- Habitat for Humanity
- Covenant House
- Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen
3. Give Out Care Packages
Care packages are one way of helping people experiencing homelessness get through the day. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. Just grab some ready-to-eat foods and personal hygiene items you have at home and put them in a paper bag. Carry these care packages around and give them to a homeless person you meet on the street. You can check out these ideas on making care packages for the homeless.
Winter is especially difficult for people with no place to lay their heads in. Shelters are also packed during this time. As a result, many homeless have to sleep in the frozen pavements. Most of the time, their threadbare clothing is barely enough to keep them warm. If you have some blankets or socks to spare, that would make a world of difference to them.
One of the most foolproof ways of ending homelessness is educating the people. Educate your friends and family that homelessness does not stem from laziness or addiction.
Instead, people experiencing homelessness are also just victims. They need our understanding and sympathy as much as anyone else. Support calls for affordable housing. Use your voice to campaign for legislation and programs to help prevent and end homelessness.
With enough people advocating to end homelessness, sooner or later the right people will hear you.
If you can’t donate money, you can always donate your time. Many homeless charities and programs are in need of volunteers. There are a lot of tasks where you can use your expertise in.
You can help cook foods in a soup kitchen or build a home in low-cost housing programs. Many volunteers also do administrative jobs like social media management or accounting. There’s a wide variety of jobs a volunteer can do.
6. Raise Funds
Most charitable organizations organize fundraising campaigns from time to time. It’s a way of rallying the community together to support a common cause.
If you can’t donate or volunteer, you can always help them raise funds. Or why not organize a fundraising campaign yourself?
7. Help Them Get a Job
Though many homeless people have jobs, social stigma prevents them from finding a decent job with a livable wage. And this is very important for someone experiencing homelessness. If they’ll earn enough to afford a room of their own, it’s one step closer to getting out of homelessness.
So if you are hiring or you know someone who does, consider giving a homeless person an opportunity to rebuild their lives. Sometimes, all they need is a chance and someone to believe in them.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a full time blogger and is devoted to topics about charity, kindness, and Christianity. She is part of Correct Digital, Inc which is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.