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How to help the homelessThe most recent global homelessness survey was conducted in 2005 by the United Nations. It estimated that about 100 million people were homeless worldwide. According to Habitat for Humanity, as many as 1.6 billion people around the globe lacked adequate housing 10 years later, in 2015. The United States is pushing to provide adequate housing for all of the poor in the country, but what are some other basic ways that everyone could help the homeless globally?

 

Top 3 Ways to Help the Homeless

 

  1. End stereotypes and stigma. The first step in helping the homeless is understanding who they are. You can help the homeless by dispelling the stereotypes and stigmas surrounding homelessness and learning about the reasons why people become homeless, remembering that everyone and every situation is unique. According to the National Coalition to End Homelessness, the top five reasons that people fall into homelessness are a lack of affordable housing, a lack of a living wage, domestic violence, medical bankruptcy and mental illness. Many people have a difficult time getting past the many negative stereotypes that burden the homeless population. They also have trouble sympathizing with the homeless population because of these stereotypes. Educating others is as simple as correcting someone who expresses a homelessness stereotype, or talking with local publications about the problems homeless people face.
  2. Support nonprofits. To help the homeless, you can also support nonprofit organizations by donating money and clothing that will aid their projects and their missions. This is usually the easiest way to help. It ensures that social workers and professionals who best understand how to help the homeless will have the resources necessary to do their important work. Donating used items or new items is another easy way to help. These items can be donated to local organizations that house the homeless or otherwise support them. Additionally, you can always support your local homeless population by donating items directly. If you can’t donate money or goods, you can sign up to volunteer with a nonprofit organization. You can also encourage local publications to publish information about shelters. Many people are unaware that there are shelters for the homeless in their communities. To help the homeless, contact local papers, religious institutions and the editors of local civic group newsletters and ask if they would consider running a weekly or monthly listing of local services available to the homeless.
  3. Be an advocate. To help the homeless from a political standing, you can support mental health services. Mental health problems can be both a cause and an effect of homelessness. One of the best ways to make a difference for homeless people is to encourage and support access to free or low-cost mental health services and make sure that your politicians are encouraging other countries to do the same and discussing it at summits.You can support affordable housing initiatives, free and low-cost health care, day shelters and local libraries where people can research jobs and places to find help. Basic medical care is also a huge problem for homeless people. They are more prone to serious health problems but are stuck in a position where they cannot afford help. Day shelters are another service which can help homeless people get back on their feet. They give people a safe place to stay and store their things. Day shelters are uncommon, so if your city doesn’t have one, talk to your local city councilors or mayor about establishing one.

If the world works together to solve our poverty problem, we can help the homeless. To do this, people around the globe must first educate themselves about each issue and push for legislation that will improve the lives of the homeless population. Continuing to dispel stereotypes and volunteering time and items for nonprofit organizations are important steps to improve lives of others and make the world a better place.

Rilee Pickle

Photo: Flickr