18 thoughts on “Ever Wondered What To Say To A Homeless Person? Here Are 5 Things to Say And 5 Things Not to Say

  1. Good post. Please note that giving too much money to one person can result in the person being robbed. If a lunch place is convenient, take them and buy them something to eat or at least a water. There are some panhandlers who are not homeless, which does a disservice to the chronic homeless in need. But, please know the chronic homeless are only a small percentage of homeless people.

    Most homeless people are acute homeless who need a hand-up to get back on their feet. Many of the acute homeless have jobs, as you note, and some of the chronic do as well. Key causes we have witnessed for being homeless include – loss of a job, reduction in hours, healthcare crisis, some other financial crisis, car crisis or too high an auto loan, domestic violence, or substance abuse/ mental health issue. 30% of the homeless families we help come from domestic violence situations. I would add one more thing – the homeless people have no higher propensity toward substance abuse than someone housed. That is one of the great misunderstandings. In Florida, before it was ruled unconstitutional, the drug testing to get food stamps program indicated are much lower prevalence of substance abuse than people not on welfare.

    One of things we have observed is homeless people no longer have a network of people to get help from. So, in addition to helping through specific volunteering, helping them network for better jobs, navigate issues, is helpful. I am sorry to wax on as I did in an earlier post, but we should help our homeless brethren, but we should also know who they are, as well.

    I have been a volunteer Board member for several homeless agencies, so please forgive my passion for this topic. BTG

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Excellent and informed post. I don’t know about the US, but here in the UK without proof of address (a home) it’s impossible to get a job, bank account or any kind of benefit so the homeless can end in a “catch 22” situation. Thankfully we do have some excellent organizations that help (Salvation Army or Crisis for example) and one of the best things one can do is try to get the homeless person in touch with them (though they are often limited by funding etc.)
    Something everyone should do at least once in their lives is visit a homeless shelter. I took my kids along with some friends to sing carols for a Salvation Army one, one Christmas. My kids never forgot it. My son danced with all the ladies and my youngest sat on their laps. I saw several folks in tears due to the kids total acceptance of them as friends (of course this was in a child friendly safe situation).
    Crisis run a Christmas program every year in which you can sponsor a homeless person to stay in a shelter over Christmas. They get support, counseling, activities and lots of help. You also write a personal message to your “person” on a card which they’ll be given when they arrive. I did it last year and intend to do so again just 25 pounds to give someone a chance to get back on their feet is the best of Christmas present giving.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m so glad this has been written. I worked with the homeless population for awhile and one of the biggest issues that was shared universally was the problem with dehumanization. We literally ignore people who ask for money out of our own discomfort and as a result we continually reinforce the idea that they aren’t worth a thing. If we want to do anything to help change homelessness and the people affected by it, we have to work to eliminate the stigma and start treating everyone like actual human beings.

    Thanks for writing/posting this blog, I hope it helps inform people on how to address these kinds of situations!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “more than 600,000 homeless individuals” — I’ve seen you post that number in another one of your blog posts recently, that number seems way too small to me, way too small!

    I was homeless once for about eight months in Anaheim California. Other than most of what you described up above about homeless people feeling dehumanized and thought of negatively by others and how they react to a homeless person when they pass by one – oddly enough, I was never more at peace. I don’t know why; perhaps because I was at an all time low and there wasn’t really any further down I could go — so maybe there was a sense of relief in that.

    Sadly, I see myself being homeless again in the not too distant future and this time, it will most likely be a permanent situation for me.

    Like

  5. A fabulous post that stops you in your tracks and makes you think.
    I live in the UK and support a charity called Centrepoint, that helps to get homeless kids off the street. In this day and age it’s unthinkable that anyone, anywhere should be without a place to call home.

    Liked by 1 person

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