Homeless people have many needs, but most importantly, they need a true friend. By true friend I mean someone who will stick by them no matter what. The stress of becoming homeless, and the stress of being homeless can cause a person to do some odd or extreme things, which will cause most people to recoil. But a true friend would not abandon a person when they become homeless.
Being a homeless person’s friend is not always an easy thing to be. You have to be smart about it. A homeless person may ask you to do things that you are not comfortable with. If that is the case, then don’t do them. But you don’t have to entirely reject your homeless friend because you refuse do to certain things for him/her. A homeless person who is also an alcoholic may ask you to buy him/her a bottle of wine. You might not think that a good idea, and you’d probably be right about that. So don’t do it. And that may also hold true for other things a homeless friend may ask of you, like cash, or other things that may end up enabling their addiction, or other problems.
Still, a friend who is supportive and encouraging is the best thing a homeless person can have, and will be the most effective in helping the homeless person get out of their homeless situation.
Other than a friend there are some things homeless people need or could certainly use while in their homeless situation.
- Clean clothes that are in good condition. Not only is it good for the homeless person’s self esteem, it helps the homeless person to socialize in the realm of the non-homeless, if they at least don’t look like a homeless person. Dirty, ratty clothes are one of the biggest giveaways that a person is homeless. And so many people reject those who even look homeless.
How We Help the Homeless
Artists Helping The Homeless (AHH) is a non-profit 501c3 public charity organization that seeks to reduce the need and cost of homeless care in several ways. The Be The Change Program provides transportation and assistance in accessing resources to get off the street. Two meal programs, one in Kansas City, another in Olathe, each serve one night a week. Our goal is to serve the homeless in their environment, a setting more comfortable to them. We view each outreach experience with our clients as an opportunity to build relationships and nuture trust.
AHH has adopted a collective impact model to drive our efforts. The collective is comprised of people, agencies, and organizations who have a vested interest in the problem of homelessness. They share their unique talents and skills to greatly increase the positive impact we can have on the homeless population. The collective contributes in any number of ways, through technical advice, staffing, meal service and food, in-kind support, and funding.
HOW MANY CHILDREN AND YOUTH EXPERIENCE HOMELESSNESS?
In the 2010-2011 school year, 1,065,794 homeless children and youth were enrolled in public schools. This is a 57 percent increase since the 2006-2007 school year. It is important to note that this number is not an estimate of the prevalence of child and youth homelessness; in fact, it is an underestimate, because not all school districts reported data to the U.S. Department of Education, and because the data collected represents only those children identified and enrolled in school. Finally, the number does not include all preschool-age children, or any infants and toddlers.
Other research indicates that child homelessness may be more widespread than school data suggest. A study published in the August 2009 edition of the American Journal of Public Health found that 7 percent of fifth-graders and their families have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, and that the occurrence is even higher – 11 percent – for African-American children and those from the poorest households. The study used a very narrow definition of homelessness, only including families living in shelters or on the streets. Yet even with this narrow definition, the study suggests that in a classroom of 28 fifth-graders, two students would have been homeless at some point in their lives.
“That’s kind of scary,” said Tony Clark, founder of Australian charity Swags for Homeless.
The social enterprise is behind the globally acclaimed Backpack Bed invention for street-sleeping homeless people that is being distributed to at least 40 people in Chicago, including in Uptown, by the time Clark leaves the city Thursday, he said.
Clark, 39, came to Chicago last week for the Edison Awards for innovation, where Swags for Homeless placed second in the social impact category. He figured while he was in the U.S. he might as well bring some of his award-winning creations along.
There are an estimated 300 people living on the streets of Chico or in local parks.
The Greater Chico Homeless Task Force is working to reduce that number in hopes of cutting down on problems associated with homeless people camped out in public places.
More than 30 people gathered for the group’s meeting this morning to discuss job opportunity and training for area homeless as well as drug and alcohol treatment and other resources.