How You Can Help End Homelessness
Published May 12, 2020
Despite the many initiatives of both the government and the public sector, homelessness remains a big problem in the US. It’s not, after all, something that can be solved overnight.
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 small ways you can help homeless people and contribute to ending homelessness.
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.
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
- Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen
- National Coalition for the Homeless
- National Alliance to End Homelessness
- Camillus House
- Habitat for Humanity
- Covenant House
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 it to a homeless person you meet on the street.
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. Their threadbare clothing 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. Use your voice to campaign for legislation and programs to help people escape 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.
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 organize a fundraising campaign yourself.
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 to 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 these people 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 firm believer in the power of giving and she wants to share that with the world. As a volunteer author she loves to write about topics related to giving and personal fulfillment.