What can I do to support PSH and our homeless population?
Understand: There are many reasons way a person becomes homeless – lack of affordable housing, job loss, divorce, illness, substance abuse, domestic abuse, etc. One of the first steps you can take toward helping the homeless population is try to understand how they got there in the first place and their individual circumstance.
Show Reverence: Don’t treat a homeless person a if he/she were invisible. A simple “good morning” can go a long way! 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.
Donate: Clothing is a big one here, as are shoes and food. Non-perishable items are always in short supply at apartments, food pantries, and homeless shelters. Other items that might be needed are blankets, coats, book, and small kitchens items like cups and plates. If you are donating to a homeless shelter or another organization that helps the homeless, consider donating office supplies, electronics, appliances, phone cards, or other items that might help those who help thee homeless or PSH residents.
Volunteer: Perhaps there is a way to directly assist your new neighbor. Ask your PSH provider for ways you can volunteer directly with the residents. Put your skills to good use by sharing them with people experiencing homelessness or living in PSH. Organize a workshop, special resident meeting, or individual session to teach something helpful. Those new skills – some as seemingly basic as using a phone or computer or grocery shopping – might help a PSH resident stabilize, beginning to volunteer themselves, and work toward an even better, more independent life.
Educate: Now that you have a better understanding about PSH, inform your family, friends, and peers about the benefits and why PSH is so important for our vulnerable homeless population.