People don't want to be homeless. Yet millions of people may only be one missed paycheck, one health crisis, or one unpaid bill away from becoming homeless. How many paychecks can you miss and still afford to pay the rent or mortgage? Treat the homeless with dignity and respect; they are not that different from you.

  1. Don't judge people based on their outward appearances or life circumstances.
  2. Better understand who the homeless are by talking to them on the street or by volunteering to serve food at a mission, shelter, or soup kitchen. You'll be surprised by what you learn.
  3. Look a homeless person in the eye, show consideration, be polite, and smile. Simply say "hello" or "God bless you." They are human, just like you.
  4. Instead of money, offer bottled water, ready-to-eat food, or toiletries.
  5. If a homeless person asks for help and you are not able to do so, rather than treating them with indifference or ignoring them, simply state, "I'm sorry. I'm not able to help today."


  • 2.3 to 3.5 million people are homeless at some point each year.
  • 840,000 people sleep on the streets every night.
  • 37% of the homeless are families with children, and 71% are single-parent families—the fastest growing group of all homeless.
  • 44% of the homeless population has part or full-time employment.
  • Less than 30% of those eligible for low-income housing actually receive it because of a nationwide lack of affordable housing and assisted-housing programs.
  • 50% of all women and children who are homeless are fleeing domestic violence.
  • Contrary to public perception, only 16% of the single adult homeless suffer from some form of severe and ongoing mental illness.
  • 94% of the homeless do not want to be homeless.
Excerpted from: Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza. Copyright © 2008 Every Monday Matters LLC. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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