How can I help a person sleeping on the streets?
Any time you see a homeless person in distress, please call 211. The operator will contact LAHSA or another service agency. An even more simple answer : ASK THEM what you can do to help.
Should I give to panhandlers?
Don’t hand out money. And Exactly for the reason you think the answer is “no”. Research shows most of the money you give to off-ramp beggars and panhandlers is spent on alcohol and drugs. My rule of thumb for deciding if someone who is panhandling is truly homeless or in need: do they have their belongings with them?
- But more importantly – If I gave you $1.00 or $5.00 – where are you going to spend it and what good could it do you? A $5 donation to an outreach org or agency can feed that person for a day because they buy in bulk and often get corporate discount. Every penny of your $5 will go for good and sustaining health. it won’t buy cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. $25 can feed them for a week, $30 covers all services and the cost to shelter someone for a night…
DO hand out Scrip, gift cards, sack lunches and …socks. Scrip is a gift certificate to a grocery or other store. Many schools and agencies sell “Scrip” as fundraisers – and they spend just like cash.
DO give respect. Financial and housing status does not impact a persons real worth. Everyone deserves respect. A nod in their general direction, smile, or “Hello” is all you need to extend.
How do I find an agency to donate my money, goods or time to?
Look at charitynavigator.org, and Just Give, justgive.org for information on non-profits. It’s also good to get directly involved with local organizations and see for yourself what they are really accomplishing.