As an issue that directly affects thousands of people in Greater Cincinnati, our organization, Strategies to End Homelessness, works on a daily basis to coordinate homeless services. Concerned citizens, on the other hand, might not know where to begin. We often are asked the question “How can I help the homeless?”
In a world of quick fixes and instant gratification, issues such as homelessness can seem insurmountable. But homelessness is a problem that can be solved through deliberate, collective actions. Together, small actions can make a huge difference. But we truly can’t do it without you and the collective support of our community!
Here are 5 ways you can help – today!
1. How can I help the homeless? Donate Your Time – Become a Volunteer
First and foremost, we encourage everybody to safely volunteer for one of our many partner agencies throughout Greater Cincinnati in the work they do. From serving a meal at a shelter, to sorting clothing, your time is one of the most valuable resources you can provide. Volunteering connects you to your neighbors and community, and helps build lasting relationships that help break the cycles of poverty and homelessness.
In addition, when volunteers are not available, organizations have to pay someone to prepare and serve meals. In turn taking funding away from helping people get back into housing. So, find an organization that lights your passion, such as working with homeless families with children, homeless veterans or homeless youth, and reach out today! Oh, and bring a friend along, too.
Do reach out to the agency of your choice and see what help they need now, while taking COVID-19 precautions!
2. How can I help the homeless? Understand the Causes of Homelessness and Who is Homeless
Homelessness doesn’t exist in a vacuum. And most people who experience homelessness don’t become homeless overnight. From our experience, most people do not become homeless for only one reason. Rather, many complicated problems create a perfect storm, leading a person to homelessness.
So, before we can solve homelessness, we have to first understand and identify what homelessness is. The many contributing factors are often not what we might think. For example, homelessness is normally a short term crisis (30-45 days), not a long-term situation. Youth are more likely to be homeless. In fact, 25% of all homeless in Greater Cincinnati are under the age of 18. And locally, African-Americans are grossly over-represented among the homeless, indicating a host of problems that disproportionately affect black families.
For fast facts, historical perspectives, and a deeper look into the causes of , and solutions for homelessness, check out our Data page. There, you’ll find fact sheets on a wide range of topics surrounding homelessness. Read our report “Home” for data on homelessness in Cincinnati to help you be better informed about some of the issues facing our community.
3. How can I help the homeless? Share Information and Educate Others
Before you do anything else, educate your friends and family about the realities of homelessness. Help dispel myths, and tell them how they can fight to end homelessness. Your voice, echoed among your social networks, can have tremendous influence over your peers and colleagues. Small, collective social actions can change public perception, inform and influence dialogues, and change the law.
Let’s connect on social!
We are available to speak with companies, community groups, and churches to help educate everyone on the causes of homelessness and how they can help. Contact us today!
4. How can I help the homeless? Give your Financial Support
By giving your financial support – of any amount – your money goes exactly where it’s needed most. In fact, 97% of our funding is spent directly on our programs and the people we serve; only 3% goes to administrative expenses.
The largest source of funding for our local homeless services system is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. But these funds may be used only for narrowly-defined purposes. Therefore, we turn to our supporters to strengthen our community’s response to homelessness. Please consider a donation today!
Your donation will have an immediate – and lasting – impact on the children, families, and individuals experiencing homelessness in our community.
5. Stay informed!
Sign up for our email newsletter. Email is the most immediate way to keep you connected to our coordinated efforts to end homelessness, information on the important work being performed in our community, and ways you can make a difference by joining us in the fight to end homelessness in our community.