See how the overwhelming homeless issue in Los Angeles provided an opportunity for one person to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people
How Should We Respond?
According to the Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission.
1. Don't give cash to a homeless person.
If a person is hungry, give food, coupons, and gift certificates. Or refer them to an agency that can provide food and shelter.
2. Talk to them with respect.
Taking time to talk with a homeless person in a friendly, respectful manner can give them a wonderful sense of dignity.
3. Recognize that homeless people (and their problems) are not all the same.
The person you meet may be a battered woman, an addicted veteran, or someone who is lacking job skills. The list goes on. Encourage them to get help through a mission. Rescue missions offer immediate food and shelter, and many offer long-term rehabilitation programs that deal with the root causes of homelessness.
4. Support local homeless ministries your donations.
Most missions receive little or no government funding. They are supported by caring individuals, churches, businesses, and civic groups. Donations of food, clothing, personal items (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, combs), diapers, toys, etc. are very needed.
5. Volunteer your time. This supports the work of homeless shelters/missions, and it allow you to get to know and love those people in need.
6. Pray for the poor and homeless in your community, as well as the residents and staff at rescue missions.
Links to articles outside CP
To the Parks
A congregation that takes church to the homeless.
The Government's Strategy
Fitzpatrick Associates Economic Consultants
Review of the implementation of the government's integrative and preventative homeless strategies.
The Criminalization of Homelessness in US Cities
The National Coalition for the Homeless
How some communities are trying to make homelessness a crime. Includes a list of the worst offenders.
Don't Feed the Homeless
Another view on feeding homeless people.
On the topic
Union Rescue Mission: www.urm.org
Los Angeles Youth Network: www.layn.org
Housing and Urban Development: http://www.hud.gov/homeless/index.cfm
National Coalition for the Homeless: http://www.nationalhomeless.org/