There is a certain depersonalization in examining the data around the homeless when we are dealing with a mammoth problem that diminishes the intrinsic dignity and value that is inherent in every human being. Then when we see the homeless up close, we often don’t know what to do. “Oh, it’s tragic,” you might say and you can look away, but many of us are not able to turn away. How can we help? Here are few tips from Dr. Rajni Shankar-Brown:
- Support local shelters and pantries.
- Always ask ourselves: How can we make it better?
- Doing a drives that help. Collect non-perishable goods. Hygiene items. Socks. Especially in colder areas. Feminine hygiene products.
- Use your skills: Fundraising, social media, donating, writing, giving.
- Vote. Stay informed. What does it mean to be informed? Know what’s going on in your own community on a micro level with zoning, with shelters and get involved.
- We all have different capabilities. Sometimes we can be a bridge, a connector to introduce people with different work experience and skill sets that are needed to get a project off the ground.
Never underestimate the power of human kindness. One of the most powerful things is treating individuals with respect, compassion and dignity. It’s more damaging to treat people as though they are invisible or to fling money as if you’re buying them off. One of the most important things is for us to look at each other with the humanity that we share in common. Treat people with compassion, love and empathy.