Homelessness is a problem that faces millions of people throughout the world. And while many people might think that there is a certain mold that homeless people fit into, the truth is that there are all kinds of people, coming from a wide variety of circumstances that find themselves homeless. When we think of helping the homeless, two things come to mind: donating food and to volunteering at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. But, there are so many different ways that you can be an advocate for the homeless. Here are some that you might not have thought of.
1. Educate yourself about the homeless problem in your area as well as across the world.
One of the best things that you can do to help the homelessness problem is to really understand it and be willing to talk about it with people you encounter in your life. If you’re someone who likes to contribute to donation projects for the homeless, take the time to find out what is most needed before starting. Discover what initiatives are being done in your area to help the homeless and what areas are being neglected.
2. Interact directly with the homeless people that you see.
While you might donate to your local food bank or even volunteer your time to different facilities, you could still walk past the homeless people that you see on a daily basis without even acknowledging their presence. Instead, just offer a smile and some change when they ask. Or, if you’re willing to do a little more, buy them a meal or being some extra from home. Treating them like with respect is one of the best things that a person can do.
3. Volunteer your professional services, hobbies or skills.
While it is great to help out in a soup kitchen or with a clothing drive, these are not the only things that homeless individuals need assistance with. You could volunteer to help to type and send out the resume of someone looking for a job, could offer hair cutting services to help them look good for an interview, or could offer child care while a parent is working. There are probably organizations in your area that you can work with to offer help in ways you might not have previously thought of.
4. Work and play with homeless children.
One in four homeless people in North America are children and there are lots of ways that you can help them to have a better life. Offer to tutor students who might be having difficulties in school or take a child for an outing to a museum, play with them, or go to the park for the afternoon. A day at a skating rink or amusement park could make all the difference in the world to a homeless child and to their parents.
5. Recruit others to help throughout the year.
During the holidays, many businesses and schools take the initiative to help out those less fortunate. But, this is not something that is just needed during the colder months. Organize a charity event with your peers, plan a clothing, toy, or food drive at work or get your kids involved by organizing something in their school. The more people involved, the more help can be given.