PUTTING HOMELESSNESS INTO CONTEXT
ORGANIZATIONS DOING THE WORK
The Ali Forney Center Our mission is to protect LGBTQ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently.
Coalition for the Homeless The Coalition for the Homeless is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women and children. We believe that affordable housing, sufficient food and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society. Since our inception in 1981, the Coalition has worked through litigation, public education and direct services to ensure that these goals are realized.
Covenant House is not your ordinary charity organization. It is a leading advocate on behalf of homeless youth – those who can't speak up for themselves at local, state, national, and international levels of government. We are a member of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Board of Directors of UNICEF and have a prominent role in The Campaign for U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The Door’s mission is to empower young people to reach their potential by providing comprehensive youth development services in a diverse and caring environment.
Since 1972, The Door has helped a diverse and rapidly growing population of disconnected youth in New York City gain the tools they need to become successful, in school, work and in life.
Inwood House believes in and values the potential and promise of all young people. We envision a time when every young person has the confidence, ability, and optimism necessary to make active, responsible decisions about the future and whether to become a parent.
Women in need (Win) has sharpened its focus from offering shelter and support to homeless women and children, to providing comprehensive programs and services that enable homeless families to succeed in life and break the cycle of homelessness. Groundbreaking programs developed by Win are: Win Academy, Income Building Program, Children’s Afterschool, Mentorship and Recreation.
RESOURCES & ARTICLES
The Coalition for the Homeless is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women and children. We believe that affordable housing, sufficient food and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society. Since our inception in 1981, the Coalition has worked through litigation, public education and direct services to ensure that these goals are realized.
She wakes to the sound of breathing. The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets. A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet. Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.
Living without permanent, long-term housing creates a number of stressors for children and families, but being homeless can be particularly detrimental to the healthy development of young children. The National Center on Family Homelessness reports that more than 1.6 million children - or one in 45 children - were homeless annually in America between 2006 and 2010. It is estimated that 40 percent of homeless children, or roughly 640,000 over that timeframe, were under the age of six. 12 This brief highlights the effects of homelessness on children, with a particular emphasis on young children, and notes several policies and practices that could help mitigate negative outcomes.
QUICK TIPS & FACTS
TIP 1: Understand who the homeless are Help dispel the stereotypes about the homeless. Learn about the different reasons for homelessness, and remember, every situation is unique.
TIP 2: Educate yourself about the homeless A homeless person may be someone who lost their job, a runaway child, or someone with a mental illness. One of the first steps in helping people is to see them as individuals and to find out what they need. Notice them; talk to them. Most are starved for attention.
TIP 3: Respect homeless as individuals Give the homeless people the same courtesy and respect you would accord your friends, your family, your employer. Treat them as you would wish to be treated if you needed assistance.
TIP 4: Respond with kindness We can make quite a difference in the lives of the homeless when we respond to them, rather than ignore or dismiss them. Try a kind word and a smile.
TIP 5: Develop lists of shelters Carry a card that lists local shelters so you can hand them out to the homeless. You can find shelters in your phone book.
TIP 6: Donate One of the most direct ways to aid the homeless is to give money. Donations to nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless go a long way.
TIP 7: Give recyclables In localities where there is a "bottle law," collecting recyclable cans and bottles is often the only "job" available to the homeless. But it is an honest job that requires initiative. You can help by saving your recyclable bottles, cans, and newspapers and giving them to the homeless instead of taking them to a recycling center or leaving them out for collection. If you live in a larger city, you may wish to leave your recyclables outside for the homeless to pick up -- or give a bagful of cans to a homeless person in your neighborhood.
TIP 8: Volunteer your professional services No matter what you do for a living, you can help the homeless with your on-the-job talents and skills. Those with clerical skills can train those with little skills. Doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and dentists can treat the homeless in clinics. Lawyers can help with legal concerns. The homeless' needs are bountiful -- your time and talent won't be wasted.
TIP 9: Volunteer for organizations working with youth inside the shelter, like Art Start Shelters thrive on the work of volunteers, from those who sign people in, to those who serve meals, to others who counsel the homeless on where to get social services. For the homeless, a shelter can be as little as a place to sleep out of the rain or as much as a step forward to self-sufficiency.
TIP 10: Volunteer at a soup kitchen - Soup kitchens provide one of the basics of life, nourishing meals for the homeless and other disadvantaged members of the community. Volunteers generally do much of the work, including picking up donations of food, preparing meals, serving it, and cleaning up afterward. To volunteer your services, contact you local soup kitchen, mobile food program, shelter, or religious center.
TIP 11: Educate your children about the homeless - Help your children to see the homeless as people. If you do volunteer work, if it's appropriate take your sons and daughters along so they can meet with homeless people and see what can be done to help them. Volunteer as a family in a soup kitchen or shelter. Suggest that they sort through the toys, books, and clothes they no longer use and donate them to organizations that assist the poor. Read stories to your children that cultivate empathy and discuss helping other, such as Last Stop On Market Street
TIP 12: Sign up your company/school - Ask your company or school to host fund-raising events, such as raffles or craft sales and donate the proceeds to nonprofit organizations that aid the homeless. You can also ask your company or school to match whatever funds you and your co-workers or friends can raise to help the homeless.
TIP 13: Employ the homeless - Help Wanted - General Office Work. Welfare recipient, parolee, ex-addict OK. Good salary, benefits. Will train. That's the way Wildcat Service Corporations Supported Work Program invites the "unemployable" to learn to work and the program works! More than half the people who sign on find permanent, well-paying jobs, often in maintenance, construction, clerical, or security work.
TIP 14: Push for state homelessness prevention programs - While states routinely supply aid for the poor and homeless, many do not have programs provide funds and other services to those who will lose their homes in the immediate future unless something is done. Homelessness comes at great financial and human cost to the families who are evicted or foreclosed.
These tips were based on information provided by justgive.org