While most people associate the holidays with a time of joy, family gatherings, and shopping, there are others who don’t.
Some people, particularly houseless people, feel more displaced than usual during the holiday season. During this time, they are seeing senseless consumeristic behaviors manifest around them and people basking in the warmth of their loved ones.
The irony of these “feel-good moments” is that they are being witnessed by someone who lacks access to those holiday-esque events. But we need to start paying attention to all the people around us, not just those we interact with.
The reality is that society usually ignores or snubs anything that doesn’t affect their immediate circle or environment. Though the houseless issue in the United States continues to rise — especially with the push the pandemic gave — it is preposterous to know that we are allowing other human beings to be exposed to inhumane situations because of the systemic inequalities in place.
Houselessness can occur for several reasons, and no one should ever try to determine which one deserves more attention. People shouldn’t be expected to live well without meeting their most basic needs.
If you’re wondering how you can help anyone who is houseless during the holiday season, we’ve gathered a few organizations that you can donate to. Please find them below.
According to their site, with your donation (tax-deductible), The Salvation Army combats problems, such as poverty and houselessness, that have grown worse in the wake of COVID-19. Your gift goes to work right in your community or the community you selected.
In 2017 Chapin Hall of the University of Chicago released its first report on youth houselessness in the United States through its Voice of Youth Count, which is seen as one of the most comprehensive research to date regarding youth houselessness in the States.
They found that more than 3.5 million young adults ages 18 to 25 experience a form of houselessness in the course of the year, about 42 percent experienced two or more episodes of houselessness, and there’s much youth at risk—for example, those lacking a high school degree or GED and LGBTQIA+ and Black youth.
Donating to Covenant House not only helps the houseless with donations, but it also helps set them up on the right track.
The National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced houselessness. Its mission is to end and prevent houselessness by ensuring that the immediate needs of people experiencing houselessness are met and that their civil rights are respected and protected.
Did you know that 40 percent of houseless youth are LGBTIA+? Well, Zebra Coalition® is a network of organizations that provide services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and all youth (LGBTQ+) ages 13 – 24. The coalition provides LGBTQIA youth facing houselessness with programs that will help them navigate anything that may impact their stability, such as neglect from their families, abuse, bullying, and more. Their goal is to equip their members with the proper guidance to stability. Your donation will definitely help someone believe in the holidays again.
Although all these organizations are great, you are more than welcome to share a meal with someone who’s houseless in your town and, if possible, give them clothing, socks, or anything your budget allows. You can call local shelters and ask them if you can donate as well. And for the love of God, whenever you do something nice for someone who isn’t as fortunate as you, do not post photos on social media — especially if it’s to show people how “great and selfless” you are. This isn’t a situation for the “likes” or the “shares.” That would invalidate all your efforts — I don’t care if you think you’re “spreading the word.” Spread it another way, like sharing this article with actual advice to help the houseless during the holidays.