Helping the homeless get through harsh winter months is always a good idea, but there are right and wrong ways to go about it.
- Step 1: Give a homeless person a blanket or offer them food, but stay away from giving money, alcohol, or a ride.
- Step 2: Volunteer at a homeless shelter during cold months. Shelters are always in need of people. Tasks you might be able to do include answering phones, sorting clothes, or helping out in the kitchen. Helping out the homeless during the winter not only helps them, but makes you feel good as well.
- FACT: A report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that 643,000 persons were homeless on any given night in 2009.
- TIP: If they won't or can't accept your coat, you can lay it on the ground and leave.
- Step 3: If you're out and see a homeless person who doesn't have a coat, it's perfectly okay to give them yours.
- Step 4: Call a hotline for homeless help if you see someone in desperate need. Hotline staff will know what to do to get the person help while keeping you out of a potentially dangerous situation.
- TIP: If your area doesn't have a hotline, or if you see someone who is incapacitated, call the police, who are far better equipped to help than you are.
- Step 5: Go out in pairs or groups to help the homeless directly. There's safety in numbers, and you don't want to be out alone.
- Step 6: Go through an established organization. You can donate money and goods to organizations that have the resources and experience to do far more good than you can on your own.