As George Harrison so famously sang, “…it’s been a long cold lonely winter…” For most of us spring cannot come soon enough. For the homeless, it must have been unbelievably harsh. Statistics show that homelessness is poverty driven, but there are other factors that also contribute.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless:
- Approximately 63% of homeless women have experienced domestic violence in their adult lives
- 16% of the single adult homeless population suffers from some form of severe and persistent mental illness
These are important issues to keep in mind when deciding where to direct your volunteer activities.
I am currently in the process of compiling our UCT local council activity reports. I never cease to be amazed at the generosity of our council members. There are so many venues that directly impact the homeless in the community. Our councils generously provided financial assistance to our homeless neighbors by supporting food banks, soup kitchens, women’s shelters and safe houses, homeless shelters, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and helped to provide financial and material assistance to individual families in need. However, just as important as the financial assistance, is the hands-on participation.
To quote our friends at the Homeless Voice in Hollywood, Florida: “Giving time is just as valuable as giving money. You can spend your time volunteering for meal times, or working on projects that will benefit the homeless, and overall, be there as a support and anchor when times get tough. During the holidays, many people love to feed the homeless and assist with meals. The Homeless Voice loves the holiday help, but would also like to kindly remind everyone that help is needed more on days that are not holidays.”
Visit the Homeless Voice at www.homelessvoice.org/. Tell us how your local council helps with the homeless population in your community.