Here are a few more ideas of things you can do to help those who are homeless.
- PROVIDE A TEMPORARY HOME. Of course this depends on the individual circumstances of your situation. Do you have room to house an extra person? Do you know the person enough to trust them in your home? I’m not advocating inviting someone you don’t even know to spend the night in your home, especially not if you have children. However, would you invite someone you know personally to live with you until they can get on their feet and find more permanent housing? Are you willing to put up with some measure of inconvenience?
- STORE THEIR BELONGINGS. Unless a homeless person has money to pay for storage, they will probably have to give up a significant portion of their belongings. Not only is this very sad, but it puts a greater financial burden on them when they do find housing again, because they have to buy household supplies and furnishings again. Maybe you would have enough room in your basement, garage or shed to keep some of their belongings until they can claim them again.
- TAKE IN/HELP RE-HOME THEIR PET. When you lose your house, you also lose the ability to house your pets. I once saw a homeless man who had kept his dog as a companion, but I think that’s probably not the norm. If a person is forced to give up their pet, they will feel some peace of mind knowing that it is going to a good home and not just going to end up in an animal shelter.
- BE AN UNDERSTANDING PERSON TO TALK TO. When a person is homeless, they can lose some of their feeling of being a normal person. It’s a gift to them when you can talk to and with them in a respectful and friendly manner. Make them feel like a valued human being, but also treat them with respect. While you probably feel badly about their situation, don’t let your entire conversation revolve around the fact that they don’t have a home. They want to be valued for who they are, not defined by the current circumstances in their lives.
- HELP PROVIDE MONETARILY FOR THEIR NEEDS. You can give cash, which can be used for any manner of needs: food, a hotel room, clothing, toiletries, travel, etc. If you’re nervous about providing cash, perhaps because you don’t know what it will be used for, you could give in the form of a gift card instead. Just make sure it’s for a store that is somewhat well-known, such as Walmart or Target.
- ADVOCATE FOR TINY HOUSES IN YOUR COMMUNITY. These houses can provide temporary shelter for the homeless in any community. Here is an article about a good-sized city in my state which has done just such a thing. There is more to it than simply building tiny houses, but it’s refreshing to see that it can be done successfully.