Tips on Helping the Homeless

Tip #1 – Acknowledge Them

Life on the street can be very lonely. Imagine people walking by you, all day long, not even looking at you, as if you didn’t exist… I would very quickly lose any feeling of self worth. images-2

A simple smile and a hello can make all the difference. Give a little of your time and talk to your homeless neighbor. There are so many paths that lead to homelessness, and each person has a different story. By  listening to them, you show that you care. And not just that. You will show by-passers that you care, and maybe inspire them to follow your example.


images-4Tip #2 – Know How To Help

It’s easy to provide practical and immediate help. You can keep granola bars and small bottles of water in your car, or pre-packed ziplock bags filled with travel size toiletries and a pair of socks. And don’t forget that many homeless have a dog for companionship and protection: fill some of the ziplock bags with dog food !

Winter season brings extra hardship for the ones living on the streets.  Check your closet for warm clothes that you don’t wear anymore: a sweater, a hoodie or scarf, a pair of boots that you bought for a trip three years ago and haven’t worn since. Also, blankets, tarps, sleeping bags and tents are extremely helpful!


Tip #3 – Understand

Most of your homeless neighbors will be grateful for your offer, but you may also encounter someone who is having a really rough time and may be unable to appreciate your help. Please, don’t be discouraged. Just smile and keep on your way. You will find someone else to help. images-3

One of the biggest problems homelessness face is being misunderstood, stereotyped and stigmatized. Every person living on the streets has his or her own story. Some are very educated and just down on their luck. Some are struggling with addiction. Others lost everything to medical bills, and some suffer mental illness. No matter what brought them to homelessness, they all deserve help.


Tip #4 – Tell Others

Talk with your friends, family and colleagues about what you have learned about homelessness. Maybe even start a blog and share your experiences with people outside your personal circle. If you talk and write from your heart, your compassion will spread; you will reach many, and they will want to join you in helping others!