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It’s hard to find someone who has never seen a homeless person in their area. Homelessness is very common all across the US, and yet, many people are unsure of how to help the situation. Rather than simply giving money, consider trying one of these methods for helping the homeless.

Food

Some homeless people will refuse food, which confuses many people. However, it’s often done out of a desire to stay safe. Homeless people can’t always tell if the food has been tampered with, so it’s safer to find their own food. However, you can still buy a homeless person a meal — just ask them to accompany you to the restaurant or store. While this isn’t always possible, depending on the area, it’s an easy solution for people who live in developed areas.

Clothes

Buying clothes for the homeless doesn’t always work out well. The clothes might not fit or might not be what they need. However, sometimes, a simple outfit can make a big difference. See if there is a thrift store nearby and ask if there is an article of clothing that they need. Just be cautious of buying anything too flashy, as that may make them a target.

Basic Necessities

Homeless people often have to choose whether they will eat or buy items for basic hygiene. Most of the time, food wins out. This provides a great opportunity for you to buy some items that will help them maintain their health and a presentable appearance. One commonly overlooked necessity is a first-aid kit. This small purchase could significantly help keep a homeless person safe from disease.

A Shower

Although most people take it for granted, it can be very difficult to find a place to clean off when you’re homeless. This is huge for people looking to get off of the streets, as it can be difficult to find a job when you haven’t showered in some time. As safety comes first, try to find a place they can go that isn’t your home. If you have a gym membership that allows you to bring a guest, that is a great option.

Resources

Finally, some homeless people just don’t have as much access to resources that could help them get back on their feet. Offering to get them in touch with organizations can open the door for them to make huge changes in their life.

Homelessness is a widespread problem, but there are ways we can support this subset of our community. Try these options next time you feel the urge to help, and you’ll make a huge difference in someone’s life.