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Giving 2(to) Homeless People - Sheltering the Unsheltered

What do homeless people need?

For example, Los Angeles, California, the "Homeless Capital" of the United States of America has 26,000 homeless in the "City of Angels" and 44,000 in the County of Los Angeles City decides to criminalize the homeless...

New laws in Los Angeles punish and criminalize the homeless. Where are the angels now? In addition to catastrophic disasters in various parts of the world such as earthquakes, fires, floods, wars, pandemics, tsunamis, hurricanes and cyclones,  a lack of income and resources and personal tragedies cause many persons and families to become impoverished and homeless.  Homelessness can be seen as an extension to extreme situational or chronic poverty for individuals, families or larger groups.  Many impoverished people live in make-shift shelters in shanty towns which may not classify them as "homeless", but do not provide safe and sane housing.  Tent cities are found in Los Angeles and other parts of the United States, and other nations, as well. The same mild climate that attracts resourceful people to L.A., also provides a fairly comfortable tent location when compared with the alternatives for those who are struggling day by day. Think of the homeless as people who are very poor for a variety of reasons, including government and societal failures, who do not have enough resources to put a stable roof over their heads. Obviously, people living on the streets need a permanent home, but more urgently at this immediate time, they need safe and affordable shelter, to protect them from the elements while more enduring housing solutions are explored.

If a person is drowning, do you throw him a lifeline or do you give him a pamphlet about methods of drowning survival?

Since the supply of affordable housing is sorely lagging behind the need, we need first aid shelter lifelines for people on the streets, public parks and freeway embankments now, as well as more sensible commitments for affordable housing in the future. Regardless of the costs, some people have no resources whatsover, other than a few coins and dollars tossed their way by concerned passersby. And beyond those we observe on freeway offramps, onramps and busy corners, there are hundreds more hidden under canopies and obscure public spaces.  How do we help to shelter the unsheltered?  

Symbol of Gender Harmony - Through the Child the Parents Are Unified
Giving from the Heart


Homeless in America Families Living in Cars - 60 Minutes...

Throughout the world, homeless persons and their children often need basic survival provisions, medication, food, clothing, blankets and, of course, housing, or at least a place to stay out of the rain and freezing weather.  Many women and children are homeless, in addition to older people, the mentally ill, teenage runaways and many people of both genders who have been unemployed for months and years and have lost their status in society.  Displaced disaster victims and refugees may live in tents or temporary shelters with minimal subsistence. 

You can give money, materials from your business or collections, or items that you purchase.    Below the list of Needed Gifts, the Giving Resources will help you distribute your gifts to the intended recipients.  Your local phone book lists many charities and you can also use the new Google "Local" search tool for charities in a particular city or ZIP code.  Check with the Giving Resource or charity to make sure that they can accept and distribute material or in-kind gifts.  Even if the item is listed on a wish list, it's best to communicate with the organization in advance of shipping any donated materials.  Some people need help with signs to ask for help!

Needed Gifts:

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Texas flood relief...


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Medication Many homeless people need medication to help them survive day by day.  Some have serious illnesses and substance abuse problems and are in critical need of medical care, medication and treatment for drug dependencies.   If you or your business can contribute medication, this will be much appreciated. The Sunrise House is one resource dedicated to helping homeless people and others suffering from addiction.
Food Many homeless persons in various parts of the world are disabled and need food for themselves and their children.  Unfortunately, many homeless people live in places where opportunities for earning living wages are hard to find.  This problem occurs in the United States and many parts of the world, especially in the developing nations.  Hunger and homelessness are the immediate effects of poverty and unemployment.
Clothing People who are too poor to afford housing need clothing for themselves and their children.  In general, homeless families and their children need clothing such as play clothes, sleepwear, socks - stockings , shoes - boots, underwear and sweaters - hoodies to keep them comfortable during cold weather. Your local charity specializing in helping homeless people will advise you on specific items in need.
Basic Necessities Many homeless people are unable to work or earn a living.  They need your help.  In addition to medication, food and clothing, as mentioned above, they need personal care, volunteer services, housing, items for personal comfort such as blankets, pillows, beds, radios, televisions, books, and other items.  Toiletries, toothpaste, soap, razor blades, underwear and clean socks are items needed in temporary shelters and in the street. Children's reading books can be helpful to accelerate the education of children while dealing with family stresses and living in temporary shelters, cars and tents. Step Into Reading books are available from Steps 1 - 5.
Electronics Some homeless people are in need of electronic devices, such as prepaid cell phones, laptop computers and various tools for mechanics and other trades to help them make a living.  In addition, many of the helping organizations list office supplies, such as computers, printers and other electronic devices, on their donation wish lists.  Several wish lists are provided in the Giving Resources websites listed below.
Shelter Temporary shelter including tents , camping equipment and tent cots are very helpful while people struggle for more permanent housing.  Many homeless people need camping supplies to help keep warm and prepare their food, for example.
Tools To build a house, you need tools.  Many homeless people need tools and materials to help with temporary shelters.  Others need tools for various trades to help them get a job.  If you're living in a car, a few tools and maybe a new battery and some gasoline may help to get you through some cold weather.
Toys For families living in cars or temporary shelters, a few toys may help to brighten the day for the kids and the parents who desperately want to make their children happy.  Children need toys to help them get through the day, to exercise and to learn.  Whether they play with balls or electronic gadgets, children are less likely to get in trouble or pick on their siblings when they're having fun.  The need to play and keep busy is important for children, not just during the holiday season, but every week of the year.  For practical considerations, toys should be low maintenance, safe and small.  Educational toys are a plus, especially if they're low-maintenance and selected for the right age group.  Children's books may also be welcomed in temporary shelters for families.

Giving Resources:

See what one man can do to help another human...

Beyond Shelter - Los Angeles, California Beyond Shelter relies on the contributions of private donors, corporations and foundations to help operate its programs and services.  Founded in 1988, in Los Angeles, California, the mission of Beyond Shelter is to develop systemic approaches to combat poverty and homelessness among families with children and enhance family economic security and well-being.  Beyond Shelter accomplishes its goals through responsive service delivery, people-centered community development, and the creation of knowledge for social change. Visit Los Angeles, California USA.
Coalition for the Homeless - New York, New York If you have new or gently used clothing, new toiletries/personal hygiene items, or home furnishings that clients of Coalition for the Homeless might be able to use, please call 212.776.2112 or email Marisa Butler mbutler@cfthomeless.org.  Coalition for the Homeless in New York, New York is the nation's oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women, and children. We are dedicated to the principle that decent shelter, sufficient food, affordable housing, and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society. Since our inception in 1981, the Coalition has worked through litigation, public education, and direct services to ensure that these goals are realized. Visit New York USA.
Committee On The Shelterless - COTS - Sonoma County, California Founded sometime around March of 1988, COTS was a response to Mary Isaak’s and Laure Reichek’s concern for the adults and their children who were sleeping outdoors in culverts, dumpsters or in other unsafe and unsuitable conditions. Both women realized that FISH (Friends In Service Helping) and other charitable organizations were not able to respond to the increasingly numerous requests for shelter.  COTS, the Committee On The Shelterless, offers hope and help to homeless persons in Sonoma County, California, by providing emergency food, shelter, housing, education on skills in parenting, money management, mandatory savings programs, job internships, critical support and other life skills, helping them toward their goal of getting a home of their own. Visit Sonoma County, California USA near San Francisco.
Compass Community Services - San Francisco, California Compass Community Services provides shelter and critical services to San Francisco's homeless and very low-income families.  The agency's seven interconnected programs support more than 3,000 parents and children each year in their efforts to achieve stability and self-sufficiency.

Compass Family Shelter

Services include crisis intervention, emergency shelter, food and clothing, transitional housing, case management and therapy, job training, enriched infant care and childcare, and permanent housing placement. Visit San Francisco, California USA.
Covenant House Texas - Houston, Texas USA Founded in Houston, Covenant House Texas opened its doors in 1983 and for over 30 years, has continued to help kids in crisis with residential programs, community services, and outreach efforts designed to keep young people off the streets. Our 80-bed emergency shelter is available on a 24-hour basis to youth in need. We work with dozens more who come in for walk-in services and serve hundreds of homeless kids and at-risk youth through our outreach and prevention efforts. Covenant House Texas is honored to serve over 99,000 free meals every year though our Community Services Center.

Covenant House Rights of Passage - Sakina's Story

In 1988, a health committee was formed, beginning HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programs. We offer anonymous HIV testing, confidential HIV testing, STD testing, prevention counseling, individual ongoing counseling and health education/risk reduction, and HIV prevention education. Visit Houston, Texas USA
Crisis - London, England Crisis very much appreciates gift in kind support from our corporate partners. We are in constant need of it throughout the year to help run our services for homeless people and keep the costs down.  Crisis opens six shelters in London, England between 23 - 30 December offering homeless or vulnerably housed people companionship, access to essential services, learning opportunities and a programme of entertainment.  Based at Crisis HO, Skylight offers a variety of activities for homeless people and the general public.  The Crisis Changing Lives programme provides financial awards of up to £2000 to solitary people who have been homeless to help them move towards a work based, vocational goal. Visit England U.K.
Downtown Emergency Service Center - DESC - Pacific Northwest, headquartered in Seattle, Washington The Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) relies heavily on in-kind support for a variety of goods and services which are critical in assisting vulnerable individuals reach their highest potential.  DESC is one of the largest multi-service agencies serving homeless adults in the Pacific Northwest, headquartered in Seattle, Washington. DESC currently provides its Housing Programs based on an annual budget of $9.6 million, with a staff of approximately 200. DESC receives funding from the City, County, State and Federal governments, along with United Way and private philanthropy. Visit Seattle, Washington USA.
Habitat for Humanity - Worldwide and Local Habitat ReStores are home improvement stores that accept small and large donations of new or gently used furniture, appliances, housewares, building materials and more. There may be a ReStore in your neighborhood which you can locate by entering your zip code in the page linked above. Proceeds from the sales of these items help Habitat's work in your community and around the world. More ways to support this great housing effort including cash and volunteering, are listed here. Habitat ReStore accepts new and gently used appliances, furniture, building materials, household goods and more from individuals and companies. Each ReStore is unique, and many locations also accept items outside these categories. The money raised by Habitat ReStores helps families build a decent and affordable place to call home. When the items you donate to ReStore are sold, the money helps families achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better future.

Remodeling, cleaning, rebuilding after disaster, down-sizing or just getting organized?

Whatever your project, hopefully not as tragic as cleaning up from recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida as shown in the above video, don’t let the items you no longer need end up in your local landfill. Habitat ReStores divert hundreds of tons from landfills each year, accepting hard-to-dispose-of items including new and used furniture, appliances and surplus building materials. In many cases, pickup service is provided for large items. Best of all, proceeds from the sale of these donated goods help families build a foundation for the future.
Neighborhood Coalitions for Shelter - New York, New York In the 23 years since its founding, Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter (NCS) in New York, New York has helped more than 20,000 homeless and formerly homeless find food, shelter, counseling, employment, and in many cases, a home to call their own. NCS provides a full continuum of services aimed at helping people move from the streets to housing and independence. 

Finding a Way Home - Neighborhood Coalitions for Shelter

A skilled and dedicated staff of social workers, psychiatrists, substance abuse counselors, and vocational and educational specialists, offer the services needed to help men and women overcome histories of mental illness, addiction, incarceration, domestic violence, and economic displacement. Visit New York USA.
Orange County Rescue Mission - Orange County, California Our Mission is to minister the love of Jesus Christ to the Least, the Last, and the Lost of our community through the provision of assistance in the areas of guidance, counseling, education, job training, shelter, food, clothing, health care and independent living communities.  At the Orange County (California) Rescue Mission, averaged over the last eight years, a full 86 cents of every dollar given goes directly to help the homeless. If gifts received are above a specific need, they will be used for Mission programs where the need is greatest. Visit Orange County, California USA including Santa Ana.
Raleigh Rescue Mission - Raleigh, North Carolina During the holidays and all year long, Raleigh Rescue Mission counts on your donations of food, gently used and new clothing, furniture, household items, and more to supply the needs of the homeless, hungry and poor.  Raleigh Rescue Mission was founded in 1961 to minister to the growing needs of the homeless population of Raleigh, North Carolina.  Since that time, the Mission has provided physical and spiritual nourishment in the form of relief and recovery programs and services for men, women and children who are homeless and/or addicted.  The Mission strives to prevent recurring homelessness through the Life Plan Program, a long-term recovery program providing Bible-based teaching, counseling, job skills and referrals to other agencies to help stabilize homeless adults and allow them to become productive members of the community.  Visit Raleigh, North Carolina USA
Recycled Resources For The Homeless - Northeast Los Angeles, California Outreach & Engagement events:
The best way to get to know who lives in your Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood is through our Outreach & Engagement events. Outreach & Engagements take place once monthly and are the best way to get to know who lives in your neighborhood. Outreaches typically last three hours and involve going out in teams to distrubute lunches, clothing, and hygiene products to your homeless neighbors. Volunteers engage in conversations check to see how people are doing and provide referrals for services. Our outreach volunteers are vital in helping us gather data to advocate for services and also help us better understand how people are feeling.
Emergent Shelter for Winter:
Donate through crowdfunding for shelter in Highland Park temporarily housed at All Saints Episcopal Church. Donate what you can at YouCaring.com for the Winter Access Center. Each night from now through March 1, the pews of All Saints on Monte Vista Street will be converted into beds that are covered with pads, sleeping bags and pillows the visitors receive when they arrive. The access center is open from 7 p.m. – 6 a.m. and can provide shelter for 50 persons.
Donation Pick Up, Sorting, & Soliciting Volunteer:
This is the perfect position if you want to be involved in improving lives however may not feel comfortable approaching people you do not know or do not have the time to volunteer on the weekends. This position entails picking up items in the community and dropping them off to our storage, sorting and organizing items during your spare time, and also asking family friends and community members to donate items we need.
Used items needed include: Clothing: pants, shirts, jackets, tennis shoes, & socks. Blankets, sleeping bags, linens, pillows, & towels.
New items needed: Socks & Underwear. Hygiene Products: toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, soap, razors, shampoo, & feminine hygiene products. Gift cards and money also appreciated. Visit Los Angeles, California USA.
Scotland Shelter - Scotland, UK Shelter is the national campaigning charity helping homeless and badly housed people.  We know that bad housing wrecks lives, so we're working hard to ensure that everyone has a home where they can feel safe.  Through our network of Housing Aid Centres we provide advice about housing rights and options. We also provide support and training for Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABx) through the Scottish Homelessness Advisory Service (SHAS), ensuring that professional advice is always available where it's needed most. Where legal expertise is required, we can refer clients to our own legal team or an appropriate local law service or solicitor. Visit Scotland U.K.
Safe Parking - New Beginnings Counseling Center - Santa Barbara, California New Beginnings’ Safe Parking Program provides case management and outreach to the homeless and safe overnight parking to individuals and families living in their vehicles in Santa Barbara, California. New Beginnings has operated the Safe Parking Program since 2004 in cooperation with numerous local churches, governmental and non-profit agencies and businesses. They provide confidential, daily-monitored parking places for those who are living in their vehicles because they do not have sufficient income to provide for their basic need of affordable housing. Visit Santa Barbara, California USA.
Transition Projects, Inc. - Portland, Oregon Since 1969 Transition Projects has helped thousands of people transcend the streets of Portland. On any given day—today, for example—we’re making the difference in hundreds of lives, providing the tools people need as they transition from homelessness to housing. We offer long-term shelter, for starters, plus a unique mix of valuable services that helps people overcome their own barriers to stable housing and employment. Services like job training, continuing education, alcohol, drug and mental health counseling, and more. Visit Portland, Oregon USA.
Union Rescue Mission - Los Angeles, California We have an increasing number of children at the Mission; currently there are about 100 children receiving emergency services each day.  Union Rescue Mission (URM) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the poor and homeless. Established in 1891, URM is one of the largest rescue missions of its kind in the United States and the oldest in Los Angeles. We provide a comprehensive array of emergency and long-term services to our guests, including: food, shelter, clothing, medical and dental care, recovery programs, transitional housing, legal assistance, education, counseling, and job training to needy men, women, children, and families. Visit Los Angeles, California USA.
Union Station Foundation - Pasadena, California For over 30 years, Union Station Foundation has helped thousands of homeless men, women and families leave the streets and begin leading productive and self-sufficient lives.  Your contributions help to ensure that Union Station Foundation remains a lifeline of hope to the families and individuals that come to us in need. Union Station Foundation (USF), located in Pasadena, California, is the San Gabriel Valley’s largest private agency serving the poor and homeless. Union Station offers emergency and transitional housing for individuals and families, hot meals, job development, healthcare, case management services and substance abuse recovery support. Every year, we serve over 145,000 meals and provide 30,000 nights of shelter to our clients.  View the Wish List of needed in-kind items. Visit Pasadena, California USA near Burbank Airport.
Wool Works Resources - USA This page lists organizations that accept donations of finished knitted goods or in some cases, knitting supplies. It's based on Joan Hamer's Pine Meadow Knitting News Charity List.  Over 40 US states are listed with multiple organizations in each state.

See the Gifts Directory for more suggestions.

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Thoughts About Giving: It is when you give of yourself that you truly give -- Thomas Fuller



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