Homelessness in modern, civilized society is an embarrassment. We are a race that claim humanity, kindness and love, however, the statistics paint a different picture. It has been said that homelessness mirrors everything that is wrong with our society. It is, in fact, a direct reflection of our mean-spiritedness, greed and biases. Take a moment to consider the people who are most at risk of becoming homeless: veterans, people with disabilities (mental and physical), single parent families, youth leaving foster care, people suffering with addiction and the low income working class. This should be alarming, instead, most people choose to buy into the stereotypes that typically plague the homeless community.
We have options, as a society and as individuals, to help put an end to this humanitarian issue. You need not be rich to make a difference. I have put together a list of things that any and all of us can do to help our fellow humans who are in need. I sincerely hope that you will feel inspired to hit the streets. You have the opportunity, every day, to make a difference in someone’s life and potentially make a friend.
Eye contact and a smile (Anyone can do it and it can be a huge boost to someone down on their luck. Remember they are just as human as you. )
Conversation (Sometimes, we all need to be reminded that people care.)
Food ( Whether you can spare a sandwich or a bag of groceries, we all require sustenance. Consider having a meal with them.)
Clothing (Consider the season, most of us keep clothes we won’t use. Also, remember, they may appreciate “dressy” clothes as much as you do for job interviews, church or just self confidence. )
Bedding (We all appreciate a comfortable place to sleep.)
Protection from weather ( tents, rain coats, ponchos, HotHands… the weather can prove fatal without protection)
Boredom therapy (playing cards, puzzles, books… this could go on forever. They enjoy entertainment as much as you. )
Resources (perhaps you know of a shelter, a job or another resource they could use… let them know.)
Friendship (You may find the best friend you have ever known, however, you will never know if you don’t open your heart and mind to the possibility.)
These are only a few things we can do. People matter.