Homelessness will always be a problem in the streets of any major city. Homeless people are low priority concerns for most governments, so the amount of homeless people on the streets is likely to remain high. Efforts to get rid of homelessness are often patchwork solutions that do not address the actual root of the problem. Stopping homelessness is no easy task, and usually requires the combined efforts of private citizens and not for profit organizations. Every small step works towards a final solution, of course. Follow these suggestions to get rid of homelessness in your neighbourhood or city. With any luck, these people will find a permanent home before you know it!
1. Give them some food or drink.
People are often suspicious of homeless people panhandling and asking for money. To be fair, some homeless people do indeed use this money for drugs or alcohol, but many have good intentions. Whatever the case, they are still people, so you should treat them as such. Everyone is suffering through a struggle that you have no knowledge of, so you should always remember that.
Offering food and drink is a humane way to help a homeless person get back on their feet. Maybe all they need is a good meal to show that somebody cares about them. Homeless people have feelings too.
2. Talk to them and learn their story.
Keep in mind that you don’t know where homeless people came from or what their background is. Almost every single homeless person did not make the choice to live on the street. Life can change in a matter of seconds, and a successful businessperson can find themselves out of work and on the streets in no time at all.
Talking to a homeless person helps give you perspective on the homeless situation in general, and also gives you ideas on what the next best step to take would be for them. Many homeless people do not have the resources to get the help they need.
3. Help them find a better place to stay.
Almost any big city has a homeless shelter or a series of homeless shelters. See if you can get in contact with them to find out if they have available space to take in new people. How would you like sleeping on a bench or a sidewalk every night? You probably would not enjoy that in the least, and homeless people don’t either. Chances are they would love a bed and a roof over their head, so see if you can help them find one.
Keep in mind that not all homeless people are completely out of money. Housing is expensive, especially in big cities. Sometimes just one late rent payment is enough for a landlord to evict a tenant, and just like that, someone is on the street. Temporary solutions like youth hostels are perfect in this regard. Pride sometimes keeps people away from committing to a homeless shelter, but you might have better success setting them up at a youth hostel.
You could also try asking them if they have any friends or family they could stay with. For homeless people with absolutely no money, it is next to impossible for them to afford a bus or train ticket to get somewhere else, let alone a plane ticket. The twenty dollars it will take to put someone on a bus to a fresh start is well worth the investment.
4. Get them the resources they need.
Again, always remember that the vast majority of homeless people do not enjoy being homeless or did not choose to become homeless. If they could return to working society, chances are high that many of them would.
Offer to teach them a skill they can use to find work, or help them find a place where they can get educated in this regard. If you do not feel comfortable teaching them something, you can certainly find someone who is. Homeless shelters are perfect for this. They have large networks of training programs to give homeless people the help they need.
5. Donate to a homeless shelter.
This solution is not immediate, but it is a lasting one in the long run. Connecting with organizations that give aid to homeless people will help them perform their tasks even better than they already do. Keep in mind that many homeless shelters do not have much funding to support them, and they rely on contributions from the general public to get rid of homelessness.
Donating to a homeless shelter is a great solution if you do not feel comfortable or safe dealing directly with homeless people. There are many people out there that work with the homeless as a fulltime job. Connecting with these organizations is a great way for you to raise awareness of homelessness in your particular area so that they can visit the area themselves to provide assistance to the homeless people there. If you don’t think you can reach out to the homeless, then find others that can!
6. Call the authorities.
If you have tried the above solutions without success, it might be time to adopt more serious measures. The unfortunate truth is that some homeless people suffer from mental illnesses that make them unstable, causing them to act out in unexpected ways. In these cases it is best to keep yourself safe by calling the authorities.
Cases of harassment are serious concerns that you should certainly address. The vast majority of homeless people do not harass anyone verbally or physically, but there are rare cases.
Calling the police can be a good way to get rid of homeless people that are giving you a hard time, but this is certainly not a permanent solution. Most police officers will simply ask the homeless person to move along, and they will likely be back. The threat of arrest can be enough for them to relocate for good. Keep in mind, however, that this gets rid of the homeless problem for you, but not for the person who has nowhere else to go.
Homelessness is an issue in every society that is not going anywhere anytime soon. There is not a quick or easy fix to get rid of homelessness. There are some possible solutions that were discussed in this article, but not all of them are permanent. Donating to a shelter is a great way to provide help to the homeless, but this can only do so much. Societies often operate to create homelessness as a reality without offering any solutions. To fix this problem in its entirety, the systems that allow homelessness to exist need to change. Until then, never forget that these are human beings, just like you. They likely did not choose to be homeless and are trying their best to find a home once more. Do whatever you can to help them in this respect.