|BLIND EYES||DEAF EARS||HARD HEART|
Have we all become such complete narcissists that we do not even care to see the plight of our neighbors and countrymen?
Do you ever stop to think about the hundreds of thousands of homeless Americans? Ever wonder how they got there? Or do you just want them to disappear, stay out of your realm of sight? Do you even have any idea how many or your fellow Americans are homeless? Do you care that they are hungry, cold, scared, hopeless? Or, is your life totally wrapped up in your own success, your own dreams, your own desires and accumulation of STUFF?
Let’s take a look at the state of our nation when it comes to the sheer numbers of homeless people on our streets. The numbers shown on the following map are from 2018, so they are already out of date. There are most certainly Many MORE Homeless now. But, we can start by looking at these numbers.
With all that is happening in our country today, more and more whole families are ending up on the street. Once again the numbers in this article are from 2017. There are thousands of more families on the street now, with all the disasters that have befallen our nation in the last two years. IF they did not lose their homes in the actual disaster, the often lost them trying to recoup and rebuild from the devastation left behind. 211 is a joke, just like Red Cross and FEMA and all the other pretend Charities. I know from person experience.
All they talk about is cleaning up the mess. Just what are they doing with all that stuff. Some of it is all the homeless people have in this world. Why are thy not talking about what can be done to help these people??? Jobs, Housing, safe shelters, restroom and bathing facilities, and housing. That is what we should be talking about. Not how much money the merchants are losing. Not how offended people are by the sight of the mess.
If you are among the countless people who every day are finding themselves among the jobless and/or homeless in the USA, the following link offers free information on places you can turn for assistance:
A look at available programs and resources to help those facing homelessness.
4 days ago … … understaffed and under siege: Unemployment offices nationwide are … Sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter to track the outbreak.
The speed and scale of the job losses are without precedent. In just two weeks, the pandemic has left nearly 10 million Americans out of work, more than in the worst months of the last recession. Until last month, the worst week for unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982.
“What usually takes months or quarters to happen in a recession is happening in a matter of weeks,” said Michelle Meyer, chief U.S. economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Americans’ health may not be the only thing at stake as the coronavirus continues its unrelenting spread in the U.S. The virus could also prove financially crippling for many individuals.
“There are all kinds of pathways for people to be financially affected by this,” said John Graves, an associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University.KEY POINTS
- High health-care costs and lost cash flow are among the most significant ways that Americans could be financially hurt by the spreading coronavirus.
- Uninsured patients could expect to pay at least $500-$1,000 just to get tested for the virus, and a 10-day hospital stay could amount to a bill of at least $75,000, according to one expert.
- Government officials and companies are trying to cobble together ways to soften the financial hit.
Published on Jul 29, 2019
Here you go, instead of giving your money to rip offs like United Way and Red Cross, we should band together and put our money to good use in our own neighborhoods where we can actually see our dollars making a difference. Take a look at this story.
I got to ask what should be a burning question on everyone’s mind. WHY are we not finding solutions for the HOMELESS PROBLEM in AMERICA? We have countless AMERICANS who have nowhere to sleep and nothing to eat. Where are the bleeding heart liberals who are crying that we need to allow our country to be illegally invaded by millions of the worlds helpless throngs when we can’t even take care of our own? Tell me, if you were a parent who could not even afford to feed the little mouths you birthed, would you bring in the neighbor orphans? NO! Because, though you have a heart for them, you are responsible for your own. SO, why do we have money to provide food, shelter, clothing, medical care, school supplies, college education and social security to masses of people who hate our country and are only here for the handouts???
We give away unspeakable amounts of money to other countries in aid. We spend unimaginable amounts of money on “Space Exploration”. We spend God only knows how much money on ridiculous studies, and outrageous experiments. Let’s not even get into how much we spend on WAR Materials not only to protect our own nation but everybody else’s as well. WHY is there no money to help those of our countrymen, women, and children who have fallen on hard times?? Most, through no fault of their own. Most of these people are not derelicts, or mentally ill. They are good people who are lost, hopeless and depressed. Most of these very same people over their lifetimes have gladly given of their hard-earned pay to assist where ever it was needed. Whether that was charity here at home, or abroad. They opened their wallets. Who is going to stand up and help them, now that the tables have turned???
Published on May 13, 2019
Do you know what the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population is? Families with children. About two-fifths (41 percent) of the homeless population is made up of families, making family homelessness a growing phenomenon.
The American Aid Foundation reports that seven in 10 Americans are just one paycheck away from the street. One survey found that 61 percent of respondents said that if they lost their jobs, they wouldn’t be able to cover their mortgage or rent payments for more than five months.
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Let’s take a closer look at the homelessness crisis in America, and what’s being done to address it.
What Is Homelessness?
At one time or another, we’ve all come across street people, most of whom find themselves to be intermittently or chronically homeless. But the scope of homelessness runs deeper than what a cursory glance renders or a brief interaction elicits.
The Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (1987) defines a homeless individual as someone who “lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and has a primary nighttime residency that is a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations.” An institutionalized person who temporarily lives in an institutional setting or a displaced person who uses public or private places not designed for or designated as regular sleeping accommodations is included in the broader definition.
How Many People Are Homeless in the United States?
The exact number is elusive. That’s because the figures can vary significantly depending on the method taken to collect the data and when the data are gathered (for example, a single night vs. a calendar year).
We do have some estimates, though. In Jan. 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on a given night in the U.S. Of that figure, 206,286 were people in families, while 358,422 were individuals.
Based on a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report, 1.56 million people, or one in 200 Americans, experienced homelessness and found shelter from Oct. 1, 2008-Sept. 30, 2009.
What Are the Causes of Homelessness?
Based on a 2015 report produced by the United States Conference of Mayors, a lack of affordable housing and poverty are the leading causes of overall homelessness. This is true for both homeless families and unaccompanied individuals.
Unemployment and low-paying jobs are chief reasons for homelessness among families with children. Ranking causes for homelessness among individuals are mental illness and substance abuse, with a lack of needed services for both.
The least likely cause of homelessness is prisoner reentry (release from incarceration), which shatters the myth that many homeless people are likely to be criminals. Homeless people actually commit less violent crimes than housed people, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
Who Is at Increased Risk for Homelessness?
People who are living in poverty are at greatest risk of becoming homeless. Demographic groups that are more apt to face poverty are also more vulnerable to homelessness.
Veterans are also at greater risk for becoming homeless, as compared to adults in the general population. About 1.4 million veterans may be subject to homelessness as a result of poverty, poor support networks, and substandard living conditions and housing, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
The 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress characterized a sheltered homeless person as male, white or African-American, age 24 or older, and alone. The report further indicated that chronically homeless individuals represented 15 percent (84,291 people), unaccompanied youth and children 7.8 percent (45,205 people), and chronically homeless families 3 percent (15,143 people) of the total homeless population.
The notion that all homeless people are unemployed is false. An article entitled “Why Don’t Homeless People Just Get Jobs?” stated that “one third to one half of the homeless population is employed.”
Homelessness is largely concentrated in central cities. Seventy-one percent of total homelessness occurs in urban areas, 21 percent in suburban areas, and 9 percent in rural areas.
How Can We Put an End to Homelessness?
Creating affordable housing and expanding housing assistance programs are two immediate solutions. The State of Homelessness in America 2015 report concluded: “Mainstream low-income assistance programs should be attentive to households’ living situations and help maintain housing stability whenever possible and, more importantly, communities, states, and the federal government should urgently prioritize investment in affordable housing,”
In 2010, the Obama administration released an ambitious plan to end homelessness. Called Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, the plan’s main goals are to halt and eradicate child and family homelessness in 10 years and to prevent and eliminate chronic homelessness and homelessness among veterans in five years. Since its inception, the program has reduced homelessness among veterans by 33 percent, chronic homelessness by 21 percent, and family homelessness by 15 percent.
Community-based efforts have also made inroads in stemming the tide of homelessness. Christina Mainero, MBA/MPH, has direct experience working with these populations. According to Mainero:
“The Illumination Foundation is but one example of a non-profit organization that has established a strong network of public and private partners throughout the community. These partners worked together to break the cycle of homelessness by bringing medical care and wrap-around services to homeless children and families as they transitioned toward independent living and self-sufficiency.”
Mainero adds, “I learned more from the families and children I worked with than I could hope to fully express. My interaction with these individuals has strengthened my belief that the human spirit, like the human body, is simultaneously exceedingly resilient and incredibly fragile. To be human is to be both a strong and a vulnerable creature.”
During Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. in 2015, the pontiff made a historic speech to Congress at Saint Patrick’s Church in Washington, DC. In a moving appeal to lawmakers, the pontiff said, “We can find no social or moral justification, no justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing.”
Safe, affordable housing is a fundamental human right, and as such, it should be upheld.
Texas Population 2019 29,087,070 / 1,000 = 29,087.07
Let’s say we just use this old outdated number which actually must be higher now considering all the disasters, job losses, and immigration. But, using the antiquated number of 3.3 per 1,000 people that is a whopping 95,987.331 (families) That does not even include all the individuals who are homeless. That is just in the state of TEXAS. (where I live). And mind you, these are only the reported homeless families. It does not include those families who are fortunate enough to find refuge with family, friends or good-hearted strangers. Nor does it include those who have found ways to live out of their car, trailer, tent or lean-to and avoid being discovered, reported or counted.
Little by little they have been removing us from the land. That is what industrialization and technology is all about. They know that as long as we have a piece of land to call our own, we are free. No matter what happens we can find a way to grow enough food to survive. When we were an agricultural society, people knew how to live off the land. They knew where their food came from, and they knew how to protect was what theirs.
We have become a nation of idiots, dependent on our “government” to provide everything. Today’s young people don’t even know where food comes from, all they know is they pick it up at the store. You will not believe this, but I had a college educated radiologist tell me that we MAKE our own water. We don’t need rain. HUH??? And that was 25 years ago. These kids today, don’t have a clue. The elite can feed them any garbage they want to throw out and they will buy it.
This is the generation of the self-made man-god. We are taught to believe that we are the only ones who set our limits. That we can determine every aspect of our lives by sheer will and effort. Anyone who is not “successful” by the standard of the day is looked down upon as less than human. Worthless eaters. After all, their life is what it is due to their own laziness or stupidity – RIGHT??
Before you even factor in all the “Natural” disasters that are multiplying like ants, there are many events and/or mistakes that can bring a person to poverty and homelessness. There are family events such as the loss of a spouse or parents through death or divorce, there are financial losses like investments that go sour that can break even the best budget, there are medical events that can destroy your ability to create income, there are unforeseeable accidents, there are changes in the job market and the economy. There are countless reasons that one mind find themselves homeless. None of which are their own fault or indicate that they are inferior human beings. There are many intelligent, resourceful, hardworking, honest, god-fearing, loving people on the street.
Don’t take the Unemployment numbers quoted to you by the LameStream MainStream. They are BOGUS! If you spending any time talking to people or researching what is happening in your world…you would already be aware that those numbers just don’t add up.
The unemployment rate gets plenty of media coverage. This ratio represents the percentage of people in the labor force without jobs who’ve been actively looking for work within a four-week period. Many people believe that it’s a good indication of the economy’s overall strength. But others recognize that it has its flaws. Here are five problems with the unemployment rate.
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1. It Doesn’t Account for Discouraged Workers
Discouraged workers aren’t included in the official unemployment rate. These are the adults who’ve looked for jobs at some point in the past 12 months, but not in the four weeks before the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conducts its monthly survey of households. What’s distinctive about them is that they’re said to be “discouraged” because they’ve given up on finding jobs (at least temporarily).
The BLS focuses on several reasons why workers are discouraged. One explanation is that these individuals think they’re unqualified for the jobs that are available. Another is that they don’t believe there are enough jobs.
2. It Ignores Other Marginally Attached Workers
A discouraged worker is an example of a marginally attached worker. Other marginally attached workers aren’t in the labor force because they haven’t looked for work in the past month for various reasons (even though they have looked for a job in the past year).
In other words, if you were looking for a job on May 1 but took a break in June to care for a sick parent or child, you’d be a marginally attached worker in July. But you wouldn’t be considered unemployed. Ignoring marginally attached workers in the official unemployment rate can make it seem as though there are fewer unemployed people.
Related Article: Applying for Unemployment Benefits
3. It Doesn’t Separate Part-Time and Full-Time Workers
Another problem with the official unemployment rate is that it doesn’t consider the quality of jobs that workers have. People are considered employed if they have part-time or temporary jobs. They’re also counted as being employed if they have low-skilled jobs that they took just to put food on the table.
4. It Doesn’t Consider Whether People Have Low-Paying Jobs
Many people who can’t find jobs that match their skill level are forced to take jobs with low wages. These underemployed people make up a large part of the workforce. But the official unemployment rate (also known as the U-3 measure) doesn’t acknowledge them.
Without addressing the issue of underemployment, the unemployment rate paints a distorted picture of where the labor market stands. Having too many workers who are unhappy with their jobs or who aren’t reaching their full potential could ultimately be problematic. Paying off debt or saving for retirement can be challening for a worker with an underpaid, part-time gig. Dissatisfaction with work can also lead workers to be less productive.
Related Article: The Top 10 Cities for Career Opportunities in 2016
5. It Doesn’t Capture the Long-Term Unemployment Rate
Anyone who hasn’t been working for at least 27 weeks is considered to be long-term unemployed. Millions of Americans fall into this category. But the unemployment rate doesn’t consider how long people haven’t had jobs.
Failing to focus on folks who’ve been out of work for a while can make it difficult to create policies that help them. A report from the BLS says that the long-term unemployment has recently declined. But from a historical perspective, it’s not as low as it could be.
The unemployment rate isn’t an accurate measure of joblessness simply because it doesn’t consider everyone who doesn’t have a job. That’s why many economic experts instead focus on what’s known as the real unemployment rate.
The real unemployment rate (technically called the U-6 measure) is reported on a monthly basis in the jobs report along with the official unemployment rate and four other measures of unemployment. Unlike the official unemployment rate, however, it takes underemployed and marginally attached workers (including discouraged workers) into consideration as well as unemployed people.
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Now, I ask you to really take a look at around you. See all the disasters that are destroying people’s lives, families, and livelihoods. These are people, just like you. This could be you. At any given moment, it could be your neighborhood. You could be watching your house and all of its contents burn to the ground, swallowed up in a sinkhole, swept away by a Tornado, inundated by a flood. Open your eyes and see their plight. Make yourself become aware of what is happening across the nation. It is easy to sit in your comfortable home sipping your favorite drink, watching television or chatting on your cellphone, and not even think about the rest of the world. BUT IT IS WRONG!
I searched and searched but can find no real statistics of how many people have been displaced by disasters in the USA in the last two years. The flooding in the Midwest has been going on for months now. Those people have lost everything. The Mississippi is so overloaded it is about to wash New Orleans off the map. It may even change its course and run down the Red River from what I have read. There is no telling what is in store. Many, many people are hurting already and many more will lose everything, even their lives. It amazes me how many people are not even aware of what is happening.
The town of Paradise, California was nearly all destroyed by the Camp Fire on Friday. CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal joined CBSN AM and took us through the destruction.
If you look at the California wildfires statistics, then you will see that 2018 was the most destructive year in the history of California wildfire. Over 7579 fires have destructed an overall area of about 1,667,855 acres of land area. This is surely the highest wreckage recorded in the history of wildfire in California.
According to National Interagency Fire Center and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 2018 has been one of the most dreadful wildfire years causing a total damage of more than $2.97 billion.
By the end of August 2018, the California fire department had spent over more than $432 million on different fire regulating operations. The Cal fire department stated that there are different reasons and factors that play behind these devastating fire incidents all over California.
November 8 2018 California Wildfire Incident
The most recent tragedy of California wildfire is the Camp fire incident. The fire started on November 8, 2018 and covered an area of about 109,000 acres (as of November 12). The fire was so wild and deadly that it destroyed over 6453 residential buildings along with 260 commercial buildings. It even claimed more than 42 lives of the civilians. Over 228 civilians and 3 firefighters were injured while fighting against the fire and controlling it. The fire has forced more than 50,000 people to evacuate their houses and buildings.
Losses in 2018 dominated by wildfires and tropical storms
Massive flooding from Harvey forced tens of thousands of people to seek refuge in emergency shelters; an overwhelming feeling of gratitude has brought people together in the shelters.
HENRYVILLE, Ind. — Powerful storms leveled small towns in southern Indiana, transforming entire blocks of homes into piles of debris, tossing school buses into a home and a restaurant and causing destruction so severe it was difficult to tell what was once there. As night fell, dazed residents shuffled through town, some looking for relatives, while rescue workers searched the rubble for survivors. Without power, the only light in town came from cars that crawled down the streets.
From the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, the storms touched nearly all walks of life. A fire station was flattened. Roofs were ripped off schools. A prison fence was knocked down and scores of homes and businesses were destroyed. At least 28 people were killed, including 14 in Indiana and 12 in Kentucky, and dozens of others were hurt in the second deadly tornado outbreak this week.
It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were missing.Aerial footage from a TV news helicopter flying over Henryville showed numerous wrecked houses, some with their roofs torn off and many surrounded by debris. The video shot by WLKY in Louisville, Ky., also showed a mangled school bus protruding from the side of a one-story building and dozens of overturned semis strewn around the smashed remains of a truck stop.
“I’m a storm chaser,” said Susie Renner, of Henryville, “and I have never been this frightened before.”
Andy Bell was guarding a demolished garage until his friend could get to the business to retrieve some valuable tools Friday night. He looked around at the devastation, pointing to empty lots between a Catholic church and a Marathon station about a block away.
“There were houses from the Catholic church on the corner all the way to the Marathon station. And now it’s just a pile of rubble, all the way up,” he said. “It’s just a great …”
His voice trailed off, before he finished: “Wood sticks all the way up.”
An Associated Press reporter in Henryville said the high school was destroyed and the second floor had been ripped off the middle school next door. Authorities said school was in session when the tornado hit, but there were only minor injuries there.
Classroom chairs were scattered on the ground outside, trees were uprooted and cars had huge dents from baseball-sized hail.
Ruth Simpson, of nearby Salem, came to the demolished town right after the storm hit, looking for relatives that she hadn’t been able to find.
“I can’t find them,” she said, starting to cry, and then walked away.
The rural town about 20 miles north of Louisville is the home of Indiana’s oldest state forest and the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Col. Harland Sanders.
Ernie Hall, 68, weathered the tornado inside his tiny home near the high school. Hall says he saw the twister coming down the road toward his house, whipping up debris in its path.
He and his wife ran into an interior room and used a mattress to block the door as the tornado struck. It destroyed his car and blew out the picture window overlooking his porch.
“I knew there was some bad weather out in the Midwest that was coming this way, but you don’t count on a tornado hitting here that bad,” he said.
Forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center said the spate of storms was unusual.
“Maybe five times a year we issue what is kind of the highest risk level for us at the Storm Prediction Center,” forecaster Corey Mead said. “This is one of those days.”The outbreak was also causing problems in Alabama and Tennessee where dozens of houses were damaged. It comes two days after an earlier round of storms killed 13 people in the Midwest and South.
At least 20 homes were ripped off their foundation and eight people were injured in the Chattanooga, Tenn., area after strong winds and hail lashed the area. To the east in Cleveland, Blaine Lawson and his wife Billie were watching the weather when the power went out. Just as they began to seek shelter, strong winds ripped the roof off their home. Neither was hurt.
“It just hit all at once,” said Blaine Lawson, 76. “Didn’t have no warning really. The roof, insulation and everything started coming down on us. It just happened so fast that I didn’t know what to do. I was going to head to the closet but there was just no way. It just got us.”For residents and emergency officials across the state, tornado precautions and cleanup are part of a sadly familiar routine. A tornado outbreak last April killed about 250 people around the state, with the worst damage in Tuscaloosa.
In one subdivision in in Athens, Ala., damage was visible on 10 homes. Bill Adams watched as two men ripped shingles off the roof of a house he rents out, and he fretted about predictions that more storms would pass through.
“Hopefully they can at least get a tarp on it before it starts again,” he said.
Not far away, the damage was much worse for retired high school band director Stanley Nelson. Winds peeled off his garage door and about a third of his roof, making rafters and boxes in his attic visible from the street.
“It’s like it just exploded,” he said
Many are attributing the heartless solutions proposed by the elite to Western society’s growing lack of empathy. There are many examples of blatant, callous apathy on behalf of society, such as a 2012 case in which 35-year-old Edgar Francisco was struck by a car as bystanders simply walked on.
Published on Jul 16, 2012
Here’s another horrific example of society’s lack of empathy written by a mother from Canada who suggested an autistic boy should be euthanized.
As life gets harder, it seems mankind’s heart grows colder. Most of us are struggling with our own problems and seldom have time to help others through theirs. It’s easier to keep our heads down or avert our gaze than to stop and offer compassion. And this is the same stance the Elite are taking on a national scale rather than finding a solution to the homeless problem. It’s easier to simply eradicate it and pretend it doesn’t exist.
In case you have not figured life out yet, let me help. Life is about choices, you will be held responsible for the choices you make. You must decide what is most important. YOU CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MONEY. AND YOU WILL SERVE ONE OR THE OTHER. If you measure success by the things that you own, the wealth you acquire and the fame you get for those things… you have tragically made the wrong choice. Anyone today who is wrapped up in themselves and their things, should hang their head in shame! HOW can you fill your head with emptiness and greed, while your fellow Americans, are suffering so? What are you doing to help? And please don’t tell me you give money to the Red Cross, United Way or your local Church. THAT MONEY RARELY EVER GETS TO THE FOLKS WHO NEED IT MOST. Organized charities are organized crime. They steal your money and give you empty promises. Do you know that a charity only has to give 2% of their earnings to the cause they name in order to be considered a charity and receive the 501C3 tax-free status and federal assistance? I met a man who went around the country teaching people how to become millionaires by starting a “Charity”. It is BS. Writing a check eases your conscience, but does not let you off the hook. If you want to show you care, DO SOMETHING. HELP SOMEONE. Someone, you can see face to face. On whatever level.
All your life you have been programmed for greed and selfishness. These are the total opposite of the you that God designed. Today’s society has turned its back on God and they are without moral character, driven by their lusts. Is that really who you want to be?
Don’t turn your back on the downtrodden. Don’t harden your heart. Open your heart and open your hand to your fellow man. You will be amazed at what it does FOR YOU!
TWELVE REASONS TO HELP THE HOMELESS
November 5, 2017 By ADMIN
It’s a very lonely life when there’s no one to help boost you up when you’re down and get you back on your feet so that you can start helping yourself again.
So, in case you needed them, here are 10 great reasons to help the homeless if you aren’t yet:
- You would want someone to help if you were in trouble and needed a hand.
- The next person may not choose to help. It’s up to you.
- They are people, just like you.
- Your chance to help others.
- The bright and restored future Because of you.
- You have the time and money even if you feel you don’t.
- You want to make a difference.
- It’s the right thing to do.
- It makes you feel good!
- They appreciate it and it gives them hope.
- They can’t change their lives without you.
- Good things happen to you when you do good for others.
There you have it, 12 terrific reasons to reach out to someone you don’t know and give, just a little of your time or money. No one is asking for anything major here, so don’t worry about that. Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most to the people receiving them.
For instance, you can take a look around your house and gather up all you spare change (you’re not using it). You’ll be surprised at how much you find all over the place.
You can donate it to a homeless shelter or, better yet, buy some inexpensive personal care products and make up small hygiene kits you can keep with you and give out to homeless people when you see them on the streets. And, remember to say “hello” to people you meet on the streets. They’ll be glad you did and you’ll feel more connected to the people you’re helping.
IOWA City Homeless Shelter
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Here is 35 ways to help the homeless from https://www.justgive.org/donations/help-homeless.jsp
- Understand who the homeless are – Help dispel the stereotypes about the homeless. Learn about the different reasons for homelessness, and remember, every situation is unique.
- Educate yourself about the homeless – A homeless person may be someone who lost their job, a runaway child, or someone with a mental illness. One of the first steps in helping people is to see them as individuals and to find out what they need. Notice them; talk to them. Most are starved for attention.
- Respect the homeless as individuals – Give the homeless people the same courtesy and respect you would accord your friends, your family, your employer. Treat them as you would wish to be treated if you needed assistance.
- Respond with kindness – We can make quite a difference in the lives of the homeless when we respond to them, rather than ignore or dismiss them. Try a kind word and a smile.
- Develop lists of shelters – Carry a card that lists local shelters so you can hand them out to the homeless. You can find shelters in your phone book.
- Buy Street Sheet – This biweekly newspaper is sold in almost every major American city and is intended to help the homeless help themselves. For every paper sold, the homeless earn five cents deposited in a special savings account earmarked for rent.
- Bring food – It’s as simple as taking a few extra sandwiches when you go out. When you pass someone who asks for change, offer him or her something to eat. If you take a lunch, pack a little extra. When you eat at a restaurant, order something to take with you when you leave.
- Give money – One of the most direct ways to aid the homeless is to give money. Donations to nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless go a long way.
- Give recyclables – In localities where there is a “bottle law,” collecting recyclable cans and bottles is often the only “job” available to the homeless. But it is an honest job that requires initiative. You can help by saving your recyclable bottles, cans, and newspapers and giving them to the homeless instead of taking them to a recycling center or leaving them out for collection. If you live in a larger city, you may wish to leave your recyclables outside for the homeless to pick up — or give a bagful of cans to a homeless person in your neighborhood.
- Donate clothing – Next time you do your spring or fall cleaning, keep an eye out for those clothes that you no longer wear. If these items are in good shape, gather them together and donate them to organizations that provide housing for the homeless.
- Donate a bag of groceries – Load up a bag full of nonperishable groceries, and donate it to a food drive in your area. If your community doesn’t have a food drive, organize one. Contact your local soup kitchens, shelters, and homeless societies and ask what kind of food donations they would like.
- Donate toys – Children living in shelters have few possessions –if any– including toys. Homeless parents have more urgent demands on what little money they have, such as food and clothing. So often these children have nothing to play with and little to occupy their time. You can donate toys, books, and games to family shelters to distribute to homeless children. For Christmas or Chanukah, ask your friends and co-workers to buy and wrap gifts for homeless children.
- Volunteer at a shelter – Shelters thrive on the work of volunteers, from those who sign people in, to those who serve meals, to others who counsel the homeless on where to get social services. For the homeless, a shelter can be as little as a place to sleep out of the rain or as much as a step forward to self-sufficiency.
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen – Soup kitchens provide one of the basics of life, nourishing meals for the homeless and other disadvantaged members of the community. Volunteers generally do much of the work, including picking up donations of food, preparing meals, serving it, and cleaning up afterward. To volunteer your services, contact you local soup kitchen, mobile food program, shelter, or religious center.
- Volunteer your professional services – No matter what you do for a living, you can help the homeless with your on-the-job talents and skills. Those with clerical skills can train those with little skills. Doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and dentists can treat the homeless in clinics. Lawyers can help with legal concerns. The homeless’ needs are bountiful — your time and talent won’t be wasted.
- Volunteer your hobbies – Every one of us has something we can give the homeless. Wherever our interests may lie — cooking, repairing, gardening, and photography — we can use them for the homeless. Through our hobbies, we can teach them useful skills, introduce them to new avocations and perhaps point them in a new direction.
- Volunteer for follow-up programs – Some homeless people, particularly those who have been on the street for a while, may need help with fundamental tasks such as paying bills, balancing a household budget, or cleaning. Follow-up programs to give the formerly homeless further advice, counseling, and other services need volunteers.
- Tutor homeless children – A tutor can make all the difference. Just having adult attention can spur children to do their best. Many programs exist in shelters, transitional housing programs, and schools that require interested volunteers. Or begin you own tutor volunteer corps at your local shelter. It takes nothing more than a little time.
- Take homeless children on trips – Frequently, the only environment a homeless child knows is that of the street, shelters, or other transitory housing. Outside of school — if they attend — these children have little exposure to many of the simple pleasures that most kids have. Volunteer at your local family shelter to take children skating or to an aquarium on the weekend.
- Volunteer at battered women’s shelter – Most battered women are involved in relationships with abusive husbands or other family members. Lacking resources and afraid of being found by their abusers, many may have no recourse other than a shelter or life on the streets once they leave home. Volunteers handle shelter hotlines, pick up abused women and their children when they call, keep house, and offer counseling. Call your local shelter for battered women to see how you can help.
- Teach about the homeless – If you do volunteer work with the homeless, you can become an enthusiast and extend your enthusiasm to others. You can infect others with your own sense of devotion by writing letters to the editor of your local paper and by pressing housing issues at election time.
- Publish shelter information – Despite all of our efforts to spread the word about shelters, it is surprising how many people are unaware of their own local shelters. Contact your local newspapers, church or synagogue bulletins, or civic group’s newsletters about the possibility of running a weekly or monthly listing of area services available to the homeless. This could include each organization’s particular needs for volunteers, food, and other donations.
- Educate your children about the homeless – Help your children to see the homeless as people. If you do volunteer work, take your sons and daughters along so they can meet with homeless people and see what can be done to help them. Volunteer as a family in a soup kitchen or shelter. Suggest that they sort through the toys, books, and clothes they no longer use and donate them to organizations that assist the poor.
- Sign up your company/school – Ask your company or school to host fund-raising events, such as raffles or craft sales and donate the proceeds to nonprofit organizations that aid the homeless. You can also ask your company or school to match whatever funds you and your co-workers or friends can raise to help the homeless.
- Recruit local business – One of the easiest ways to involve local businesses is to organize food and/or clothing drives. Contact local organizations to find out what is needed, approach local grocery or clothing shops about setting up containers on their premises in which people can drop off donations, ask local businesses to donate goods to the drive, and publicize the drive by placing announcements in local papers and on community bulletin boards and by posting signs and posters around your neighborhood.
- Create lists of needed donations – Call all the organizations in your community that aid the homeless and ask them what supplies they need on a regular basis. Make a list for each organization, along with its address, telephone number, and the name of a contact person. Then mail these lists to community organizations that may wish to help with donations — every place from religious centers to children’s organizations such as Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
- Play with children in a shelter – Many children in shelters are cut off from others their own age. Shuffled from place to place, sometimes these kids don’t attend school on a regular basis, and have no contact with other kids. Bring a little joy to their lives by taking your children to a local shelter to play. Plan activities such as coloring, playing with dolls, or building model cars (take along whatever toys you’ll need). Your own children will benefit too.
- Employ the homeless – Help Wanted – General Office Work. Welfare recipient, parolee, ex-addict OK. Good salary, benefits. Will train. That’s the way Wildcat Service Corporations Supported Work Program invites the “unemployable” to learn to work and the program works! More than half the people who sign on find permanent, well-paying jobs, often in maintenance, construction, clerical, or security work.
- Help the homeless apply for aid – Governmental aid is available for homeless people, but many may not know where to find it or how to apply. Since they don’t have a mailing address, governmental agencies may not be able to reach them. You can help by directing the homeless to intermediaries, such as homeless organizations, that let them know what aid is available and help them to apply for it. If you want to be an advocate or intermediary for the homeless yourself, you can contact these organizations as well.
- Stand up for the civil rights of the homeless – In recent elections, for example, volunteers at shelters and elsewhere helped homeless people register to vote . . . even though they had “no fixed address” at the moment. Some officials would not permit citizens without a permanent address to vote.
- Join Habitat for Humanity – This Christian housing ministry builds houses for families in danger of becoming homeless. Volunteers from the community and Habitat homeowners erect the houses. Funding is through donations from churches, corporations, foundations, and individuals.
- Form a transitional housing program – One of the most potent homeless-prevention services a community can offer residents who are in danger of eviction is a transitional housing program. These programs help people hang on to their current residences or assist them in finding more affordable ones. The methods include steering people to appropriate social service and community agencies, helping them move out of shelters, and providing funds for rent, mortgage payments, and utilities. For information, contact the Homelessness Information Exchange at (202) 462-7551.
- Write to corporations – Some of the largest corporations in America have joined the battle for low-income housing. Through the use of the tax credit or by outright grants, they are participating with federal and state government, not-for-profit and community-based groups to build desperately needed housing in Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and dozens of other cities. Contact various organizations and ask them what they are doing.
- Contact your government representatives – Our legislators rarely receive more than three visits or ten letters about any subject. When the numbers exceed that amount, they sit up and take note. Personal visits are the most potent. Letters are next; telephone calls are third best. Housing issues don’t come up that often, so your public officials will listen.
- Push for state homelessness prevention programs – While states routinely supply aid for the poor and homeless, many do not have programs provide funds and other services to those who will lose their homes in the immediate future unless something is done. Homelessness comes at great financial and human cost to the families who are evicted or foreclosed.
Jon Linton is the founder of The I Have a Name Project.
The Project, is an Art + Advocacy campaign for those that have no door to walk through at day’s end. The mission is to provide compassion and voice to the silenced.