Direct Action

Respect the homeless as an individual.  When you come in contact with a homeless person while stopped at a stop light or walking down the street, you may feel annoyed, repulsed and maybe even angered as you try to avert your eyes.  You may think to yourself, “If I give him money, he’ll just use it to buy booze or cigarettes.”  Or “Why don’t you go get a job and help yourself instead of taking handouts?”  Or even “They choose to be homeless because they don’t like taking responsibility.”  In fact, most homeless people are not drunks or drug abusers or former mental patients.  Most are able or willing to work.

Respond with kindness.  The homeless are human beings too – remember the Golden Rule.

Befriend a homeless Veteran.  The difference you could make in a homeless person’s life  may be the most rewarding thing you do.

Make a charitable contribution.  Little efforts count, your contribution is never too small.

Volunteer.  At a shelter, a soup kitchen or your own special talents – just once or twice a month could made a difference in someone’s life.

Tutor homeless children.  To many people, homeless children are invisible.  These children are more likely to have learning and emotional problems and to fall behind academically than children who have a stable home life.

Employ the homeless.  As bad as it is for the 44% of homeless people who have jobs and can’t escape homelessness, climbing out of homelessness is virtually impossible for those without a job.  For those with limited skills or experience, opportunities for jobs that pay a living wage are very limited.  Additionally, many members of the homeless population have to combat barriers such as limited transportation and reduced access to educational and training programs.  In such a competitive environment, the difficulties of job seeking as a homeless person can be almost insurmountable barriers to employment.

Let others know.  Networking is key in most business transactions.