Helping the Homeless

q5Have you ever wondered if, at the end of a long day, you don’t have a home to go? You are probably reading this at your workplace, and you just remembered that you have been looking forward to going home and taking a warm bath. Another reader of this article is in his cool room, enjoying this write-up while sipping a cup of coffee. Other persons are out there right now wishing they had a home to go to. These last set of people are our focus for today. They are the homeless individuals who do not have a cozy home to go back to at the end of the day. Here are some reasons why we should help the homeless:

  • Many People Are Homeless: Annual Homeless Assessment report of 2015 showed that on every night in the United States, over 600,000 people are homeless. Out of this figure, over 300,000 are individuals while the remaining are persons in families. It was also discovered that the homeless population has more men than women. About 25% of these homeless ones have mental disorders, 17% are chronically homeless, 13% are running from domestic violence, and12% are veterans.
  • They’ve Too Many Problems to Deal with: A lot of these people are treated differently. People don’t want to even look at them. The truth is many of them are not homeless by choice. They probably experienced something in the past. Some are homeless because of addiction. Others are out in the streets because of abuse. Would you ever want to be in their shoes? Would you want people to treat you less of a human being because you didn’t have a home?

Programs That Cater For the Homeless

I know you are thinking about helping, but a lot of readers are also wondering why the government or society is not helping out. After all, you pay tax towards that goal. They are helping the way they can. There are programs for the homeless. Some of them are:

  • Housing programs: The most important thing an individual that is homeless need is a house. It is more than just having a roof over their head; they want a place to call home. A lot of non-governmental organizations have taken up this need. The NGOs such as National Low Income Housing Coalition, have taken up this responsibility. Housing programs usually comprise of two types: The permanent and temporary housing. “Housing First” is one of the housing programs that focus on providing permanent housing for homeless persons with mental health issues. The temporary housing, on the other hand, provides individuals or families with a temporary abode until the homeless can secure and pay for an apartment by themselves.
  • Health Care: A lot of homeless people are in need of proper health care, and it is evident that they cannot afford it. The highest numbers of homeless people who need urgent health care are those that were rendered homeless due to substance abuse which led to mental illnesses which will need comprehensive medical care. Some NGOs are working with the government to fund free comprehensive health care for the homeless. This type of healthcare with grant them access to a top specialist that will handle their particular health challenges.
  • Access to Libraries: The University Library in San Jose is the first academic library that realized that the homeless needs their unhindered services. Since then, other public libraries have followed suit. The homeless have free access to these libraries. This access gives them unrestricted use to the computer, the internet, books and other resources needed for a job application.

5 Ways to Help the Homeless

Despite what the government is doing and the society’s occasional altruism, homeless people still need your help. As individuals, there are several things you can do to help the homeless. Some of these are:

  • Make Donations: The non-governmental organizations that focus on the homeless need the help of the citizen. It costs a lot to help one homeless person to achieve stability. These NGOs can offer better value if an individual like you can donate to the cause. You can contribute towards building subsidized houses for the homeless. Find out the nearest local donation center in your area and be consistent with your contributions.
  • Volunteer as a professional: Are you a doctor and you are reading this? The homeless around you need your help. This part is also speaking to the nurses, lawyers, psychiatrists, and dentists. You can help the homeless by offering them your expertise for free. Psychiatrists can take up the cases of those that have mental illnesses which were as a result of substance abuse. Lawyers reading this can offer pro-bono jobs.
  • Give them Clothing: Check your closets now. There are several clothes you have that you cannot remember the last time you wore them. You can take them to charity so that it can be given to some homeless persons. Also, you can look out for some displaced people in your area and give them your clothes. They need clothing for the various seasons of the year and they also require decent clothes for interview purposes.
  • Give Them Food: Food is an essential part of everyday life. A hungry man is an angry man. When you are not hungry, you function at your best. The homeless around you need food as much as you also do. You can give them cooked food. You can also buy them canned foods,  fruits and vegetables. These foods can be given to them personally, or you can donate the items to the local soup kitchens where it will be used to feed the homeless persons.
  • Employ Them: You can give the homeless jobs as a means of helping them. That they are homeless those not mean that they cannot be efficient. If you are in a position to give them jobs, kindly do so. The homeless individuals need sources of income. The job does not necessarily have to be white collar. They can be labourers or unskilled caregivers. For jobs that require some formal training, you can sponsor the training and give them the job afterwards. They will forever be grateful to you if you do this.

Bottom Line

We have given you many ideas. The recipient of your gift might not know you personally but they will bless you and your generation. Moreover, what goes around comes around. Helping someone will make someone bless you with something you need as well later in the future. Help out today!

Photo Credit: Aatp