How to Help the Homeless in Small Ways
Published January 7, 2022
According to statistics, about 2% of the world’s population is homeless. While another 20% lacks adequate housing. These numbers give us an idea of the severity of the world’s problem with homelessness.
Though unfortunate, this statistic isn’t surprising. With the continuous rise in housing costs and more people moving to the cities, a homelessness epidemic is inevitable. And by the looks of it, ending homelessness will take a long time.
That’s not to say, however, that we can’t do anything to make life more bearable for the homeless. Yes, there are already a lot of organizations that are helping the homeless. But as an individual, there are many things you can do to help them too.
Here’s how to help the homeless in your own small ways:
1. Understand Why Homelessness Happens
A common misconception among people who haven’t experienced homelessness is that homeless people are lazy bums. And that they’re homeless because of their own fault.
But there are a lot of reasons why people become homeless. Some fell into hard times after losing their job or walking away from an abusive relationship. While others suffer from mental health issues that makes them unemployable.
Remember that not everyone has the same support system that you have. Not everyone has friends or family they can turn to when they’re evicted from their homes or kicked our of their apartments.
This is why the first step to helping the homeless is educating yourself about homelessness. It helps you put yourself in their shoes and understand where they’re coming from. In the process, it helps break stereotypes and misconceptions that often prevents people from extending a helping hand.
Besides housing, the homeless also often lack basic necessities like food, water, and clothing. So if you can, donate to organizations that are helping the homeless like soup kitchens and shelters. These organizations often rely on the generosity of people like you to keep doing what they do.
Aside from cash, you can also donate in-kind items like food, used clothes, and hygiene items. Some of the most common items that homeless shelters often lack are:
socks and underwear
feminine hygiene products
Many homeless shelters also take in families with babies. That’s why they may also need baby care items like milk, diaper, and formula bottles among others.
(Related: 100 Ways to Help Others Even If You’re Not Rich)
If you can’t afford to make a donation, you can always donate your time. Non-profit organizations and homeless shelters are often in need of volunteers.
Depending on the organization, the tasks given to volunteers can vary widely. But most of the time, it will depend on your skillset. For instance, if you’re good at bookkeeping, you can take care of the inventories. Or if you’ve got great people skills, you may find yourself working on the frontlines.
You can coordinate with the local homeless charities in your area to find out if they have any volunteer opportunities.
4. Practice Kindness and Respect
Apart from food and clothing, what homeless people (and all of us for that matter) really need is a little bit of kindness and respect.
They might have fallen on unfortunate circumstances but that doesn’t make them less respectable than everyone else. Just like you and me, a kind smile or a simple “good morning” can brighten up their day. In the same vein, a small act of kindness can go a long way in helping them turn their lives around.
So whenever you meet a homeless person, treat with the same respect and kindness that you give everyone else.
5. Raise Funds
As mentioned, homeless charities rely on the generosity of the community. So if you can’t donate or volunteer, you can also help them raise funds for their project.
Raising funds for the homeless doesn’t need to be an elaborate campaign with a lot of fanfare. Sometimes it can be as simple as doing a garage sale or asking for donations from your friends and family. In instances like this, it’s really the intent that matters much more than the amount.
6. Advocate Against Homelessness
One of the reasons why there are still a lot of stereotypes around homelessness is because the people experiencing it often have no voice. If society and those in power were to decide, they’d much rather forget that homeless people exists.
This is why raising your voice against homelessness is already a big help for the homeless. The more we talk about homelessness, the faster we will break those stereotypes and change society’s attitude towards homelessness.
Advocating against homelessness will also lead to the creation of more laws and government initiatives that will benefit the homeless.
7. Make a Care Package
A homeless care package, as its name suggests, is a type of kit that contains things a homeless person needs. This includes non-perishable food items, toiletries, and thick warm socks among others.
But if you don’t have all those items, just grab some biscuits, cup noodles, or cereal bars in your pantry and put it in a paper bag. Then give it to a random homeless person you see on the street. It might not be that much but if it can help them survive a few more days on the streets, that’s already a lot.
8. Hire Homeless People
The stigma and stereotypes surrounding homelessness often prevents the homeless from getting a job. And without a job, they can’t get their own place and get out of the streets. It’s a vicious cycle that traps homeless people in perpetual homelessness.
That’s why if you have a business or are in need of a helping hand, hire homeless people. If you give them a chance, many of them are actually willing to work. Giving them a job won’t only help them sustain themselves, you’ll also be giving them a major confidence boost.
Helping the homeless doesn’t really require a lot of time and effort nor a substantial bank balance. Even simple actions like those mentioned above can go a long way. What matters most is the willingness to make life better for others and the drive to make a difference.
Donate To The Poor & Homeless Of South Florida
Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen has fed the poor and homeless in South Florida over 900,000 hot meals since 1993. Our tax deductible non profit organization also accepts and distributes donations such as clothing, toiletries, shoes, bicycles, and more. You can donate to help the poor and homeless through our website.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a professional writer and devoted Christian. She has a passion for writing about topics related to morality and helping the poor and homeless. She is the lead author for the Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen blog.
Correct Digital, Inc is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.