8 Actionable Ways To Help Someone Experiencing Homelessness
Last Updated: 16 Jan 2024
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Hint: It’s easier than you think.
Homelessness is a complex and pressing issue affecting millions of people worldwide. While solving the problem at its root requires systemic change, there are meaningful ways that each of us can make a difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. In this blog, we’ll explore eight actionable ways to provide assistance and support to individuals facing homelessness.
1. Offer Food and Hygiene Supplies
One of the most immediate ways to help someone experiencing homelessness is by offering food and hygiene supplies. Carry non-perishable food items like granola bars, bottled water, and canned goods in your car or backpack to distribute to those in need. Hygiene kits containing essentials like soap, toothbrushes, and sanitary products can also make a significant difference in maintaining personal health and dignity.
Take Action: Don’t have the supplies for these kits on-hand at home? Stop by one of Endeavors’ monthly Feel Good Friday volunteer events to make one!
2. Donate Clothing and Blankets
As seasons change, individuals without stable shelter face harsh weather conditions. Consider donating gently-used or new clothing items such as warm coats, socks, and blankets to local shelters or directly to people in need. Cold weather gear like gloves, scarves, and thermal underwear can be invaluable during the winter months.
Take Action: We always need gently-used or new winter coats, furniture, and home goods for our unhoused veteran clients around Texas! Contact an Endeavors office near you to coordinate a donation.
3. Provide Information About Services
Many cities have outreach programs and shelters designed to assist the homeless population. Take the time to familiarize yourself with local resources, such as shelters, food banks, and medical clinics, and share this information with those in need. Providing a list of nearby service providers or locations where free meals are offered can be a lifeline for someone struggling to navigate their options.
Take Action: Texas 2-1-1 maintains a list of organizations and resources for people in need across Texas.
4. Show Empathy and Respect
Sometimes, all it takes to make a positive impact is a simple act of kindness. Approach individuals experiencing homelessness with empathy and respect. Engage in conversation, listen to their stories, and treat them with dignity. Sometimes, acknowledging their humanity can provide a sense of validation and hope.
Take Action: Check out this article on why the language we use around homelessness matters.
5. Volunteer Your Time
Volunteering at a local homelessness shelter or outreach program is a powerful way to contribute to your community. You can offer your time to serve meals, assist with administrative tasks, or participate in fundraising efforts. Volunteering allows you to directly engage with those in need and gain a deeper understanding of their experiences.
Take Action: Sign up to volunteer with Endeavors!
6. Support Organizations That Combat Homelessness
Many organizations work tirelessly to address homelessness through various programs and initiatives. Consider donating to or volunteering with reputable organizations that focus on housing assistance, addiction recovery, mental health support, and employment training. Your contributions can help these organizations continue their vital work. Endeavors provides short-term and long-term housing support to veterans and their families, people with disabilities, and women with disabilities and their children.
Take Action: Donate to Endeavors and help people experiencing homelessness across Texas.
7. Offer Transportation Assistance
Access to transportation can be a significant barrier for individuals experiencing homelessness. If possible, offer assistance with transportation by providing bus or subway fare, offering a ride to a shelter or job interview, or helping them access public transportation options.
Take Action: Donate rides through programs like the Lyft Up Program.
8. Advocate for Policy Change
While immediate assistance is crucial, addressing the root causes of homelessness requires advocacy and policy change. Get involved in local and national initiatives that aim to combat homelessness through systemic reform. Advocate for affordable housing, mental health services, addiction treatment programs, and policies that support vulnerable populations.
Take Action: Check out the National Coalition for Homelessness to find advocacy opportunities near you.
Helping someone experiencing homelessness is a compassionate and impactful way to make a positive difference in their lives. By combining immediate assistance with advocacy efforts, we can work towards a future where homelessness is a rare and temporary occurrence, rather than a persistent and widespread problem.
Headquartered in San Antonio, Endeavors is a national non-profit that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans, natural disaster victims, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities. Endeavors serves vulnerable people in crisis through innovative personalized services and Emergency Services/Disaster Response.