How Homelessness Works


What You Can Do to Help the Homeless

There are so many ways in which you can help the homeless— by donating your time, money, or just by showing that you care. Here are just a few of the things you can do:

  • Volunteer. Help out at a local shelter by distributing clothes, serving meals, putting on a puppet show for the kids or answering phones. Build houses with Habitat for Humanity, or volunteer at an agency that helps the homeless (for a directory, visit http://www.nationalhomeless.org/state/).
  • Donate. Gather up any clothes, toys, books, household goods, toiletries or computers you’re not using and donate them to your local homeless shelter. You also can donate directly to homeless people. If you don’t want to give money, offer a warm meal, a gift certificate to a fast-food restaurant, a couple of bus tokens, or a bag full of recyclable bottles that can be turned in for cash.
  • Advocate. Contact your local representatives and push for new legislation to help the homeless.
  • Employ. Hire homeless people at your company. If you’re not in a position to hire anyone, ask your Human Resources manager whether there might be internships or full-time opportunities available.
  • Respect. If you do nothing else, be kind. The next time you see a homeless person on the street, don’t just look away. “Most of the despair in being homeless comes from being treated like you don’t exist,” says David Pirtle. “If you see the same guy on the street corner every day, find out his name and talk to him. It might save his life.”

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More Great Links

Books

  • Cathryn Berger Kaye - A Kids' Guide to Hunger & Homelessness: How to Take Action! http://www.amazon.com/Kids-Guide-Hunger-Homelessness-Learning/dp/1575422409/ref=sr_1_8/104-3640844-7349533?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184691058&sr=1-8
  • Pat LaMarche - Left Out in America: The State of Homelessness in the United States http://www.amazon.com/Left-Out-America-Homelessness-United/dp/1929565208/ref=sr_1_22/104-3640844-7349533?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184691058&sr=1-22
  • Diane D. Nilan - Crossing the Line: Taking Steps to End Homelessness http://www.amazon.com/Crossing-Line-Taking-Steps-Homelessness/dp/1591138361/ref=sr_1_7/104-3640844-7349533?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184691058&sr=1-7
  • Karen M. Skalitzky - A Recipe for Hope: Stories of Transformation by People Struggling with Homelessness http://www.amazon.com/Recipe-Hope-Transformation-Struggling-Homelessness/dp/0879463252/ref=sr_1_16/104-3640844-7349533?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184691058&sr=1-16
  • Yvonne M. Vissing - Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Homeless Children and Families in Small-Town America http://www.amazon.com/Out-Sight-Mind-Homeless-Small-Town/dp/0813108721/ref=sr_1_25/104-3640844-7349533?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184691298&sr=1-25

Sources

  • “Chris Gardner has pursued happiness, from the Glide soup kitchen to the big screen.” http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2005/10/10/DDGVLF4AI81.DTL
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Community Planning and Development. “The Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress,” February 2007. http://www.huduser.org/Publications/pdf/ahar.pdf
  • “Congress Votes to Increase Minimum Wage” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18847929/
  • “2K a Month Average for Manhattan Studio” http://www.boston.com/news/odd/articles/2007/07/13/ave_rent_2000_a_month_for_a_studio/?rss_id=Boston.com+--+News+of+the+odd
  • U.S. Conference of Mayors. “A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America’s Cities: 2005.” http://www.usmayors.org/uscm/home.asp
  • National Coalition for the Homeless. “Why are People Homeless?” NCH Fact Sheet #1. June 2006. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/Why.pdf
  • National Coalition for the Homeless. “How Many People Experience Homelessness?” NCH Fact Sheet #2. June 2006. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/How_Many.pdf
  • National Coalition for the Homeless. “Who is Homeless?” NCH Fact Sheet #3. June 2006. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/Whois.pdf
  • National Coalition for the Homeless. “Federal Housing Assistance Programs.” NCH Fact Sheet #16. June 2006. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/Federal.pdf
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “The 2007 HHS Poverty Guidelines.” http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/07poverty.shtml
  • National Coalition for the Homeless. “Employment and Homelessness.” NCH Fact Sheet #4. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/Employment.pdf
  • National Coalition for the Homeless. “Health Care and Homelessness.” NCH Fact Sheet #8. June 2006. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/Health.pdf
  • National Coalition for the Homeless. “Homeless Youth.” Fact Sheet #13. June 2006. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/youth.pdf
  • National Coalition for the Homeless. “Homeless Families with Children.” Fact Sheet #12. June 2006. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/families.pdf
  • National Coalition for the Homeless. “McKinney-Vento Act.” Fact Sheet #18. June 2006. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/McKinney.pdf
  • “Homeless Men Severely Beaten, Police Say,” Pittsburgh.com, July 10, 2007. http://www.wpxi.com/news/13654470/detail.html
  • “Attack Hospitalizes Homeless Man,” Chicago Tribune, July 10, 2007. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/west/chi-homeless10jul10,1,4331374.story?coll=chi-newslocalwest-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true
  • National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. “America’s Homeless People are Under Attack.” http://www.nlchp.org/news.cfm?id=1
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness. “Homelessness Counts.” January 10, 2007. http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/general/detail/1440
  • National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. “Background & Statistics.” http://nchv.org/background.cfm
  • U.S. Conference of Mayors Report, 2006 http://www.citymayors.com/features/uscity_poverty.html
  • Interview with David Pirtle, July 23, 2007.

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