7 Ways You Can Help the Homeless this Winter

How many of us could survive something such as the loss of a spouse, a debilitating physical illness, and the loss of employment? Many people you see living on the streets were struck by a tragedy and lacked a support system to get help when they needed it. Will you can help right now?

Here’s how:

1. Educate yourself. There are myriad reasons why a person becomes homeless — lack of affordable housing, loss of a job, divorce, illness, substance abuse, domestic abuse, et cetera. One of the first steps you can take toward helping the homeless is trying to understand how they got there in the first place.

2. Show respect. Don’t treat a homeless person as if she were invisible. Say, “good morning,” when you pass or strike up a conversation on a park bench. Many people experiencing homelessness say that the loss of dignity that accompanies their situation is harder to bear than the actual loss of physical things.

3. Donate. A gift of $50 = 20 bagged lunches for guests on their way to work; $65 = the cost of one night for a homeless guest; $100 = a week of laundry services for 10 homeless guests.

4. Clean out your closet. Clothing (especially men’s jeans) is a big one here, as are sneakers, boots and food. Lowell Transitional Living Center has a Wish List they keep up to date so your gift will make the most impact..

5. Volunteer. Sign up to help in the Donation Center on a Saturday afternoon, help with an event, lead a social media campaign, rally your friends, use special skills to help with building maintenance.

6. Get techy. Use your skills to host a peer-to-peer fundraiser online, host a text-to-give event, or just spread the goodwill by sharing all of Lowell Transitional Living Center’s posts.

7. Advocate. Call Lowell Transitional Living Center to find out what is most needed, then contact your local scout troops or civic organizations to organize food drives or other fundraising events to pull those items together. Follow local politics and speak up at town council meetings on issues of homelessness and programs for the homeless. Write editorial letters to your local newspaper about the issue of homelessness in your community and what people can do to help.

 

image credit: Gerry Suchy/Homeless in Washington, D.C.

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