Things You Can Do to Help the Homeless
In a rich country like Canada, you might think that everyone should have a place to live. Yet thousands of people are homeless at various points each year, and even all of the government funding and other programs have not been enough to solve the problem. Everyone should help, and there are many things that you and your friends and family can do to change the situation.
Canada has different kinds of homelessness. The most visible kind is what you might see if you go out into a city late in the evening. Every night, about 35,000 people across Canada sleep on the streets, in abandoned buildings, or in shelters run by groups like the Salvation Army. Besides all of those people, about 50,000 others are part of the hidden homeless. This means that they have a temporary place to stay, such as a friend’s living room, but not anything permanent.
People become homeless for many reasons, such as job losses, long illnesses, and rising housing prices. Sometimes, people lose everything very suddenly, such as in a house fire or other disaster. At other times, it can be very slow, such as when a person is unemployed for a long time and doesn’t have enough money left to pay for housing.
Helping the homeless can be difficult, especially since part of the problem is with the system of housing and employment. One thing that you can do is sign petitions and write to the government to build low-cost housing or to make laws that help the homeless. For example, when property owners change apartments into condominiums, many low-income people have to move out because they cannot afford the price. You can urge the government to limit this kind of practice and to make sure that landlords cannot drive people out of apartments by raising the rent too much.
Another way to help is by supporting organizations that work with homeless or low-income people. Habitat for Humanity, for example, keeps many families from becoming homeless by helping them to build and buy low-cost homes without taking on huge debts. Other organizations provide soup kitchens where people can come to have a good meal that they might otherwise not be able to afford or have the space to cook. Serving meals at these places, donating money, or helping in other ways at homeless shelters can be very useful for people in need.
Besides helping in these ways, you can do many other things to make the lives of homeless people a bit easier. Giving money to a homeless person is one option, but other ways of helping are often better. You can make sandwiches or buy gift cards to give to people in need. Mittens, scarves, towels, and hand warmers are also useful, and you can ask for your friends and family to help you with that. Even a smile and a brief conversation can help a homeless person feel better.
Support is a very important part of working with the homeless. If you can get your friends and family involved or work with an organization that helps the homeless, that will make your efforts much easier. Whatever method you try, it is important to help Canada’s people in need because it could be anyone, even you one day.
Chevalier, Jennifer. “5 Things You Can Do to Help the Homeless.” https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/help-homeless-ottawa-1.4954083.
CTV News. “Helping the Homeless: What They Need, in Their Own Words.” https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/helping-the-homeless-what-they-need-in-their-own-words-1.2819998.
Homeless Hub. “What is Homelessness?” https://www.homelesshub.ca/about-homelessness/homelessness-101/what-homelessness.
Paulsen, Monte. “50 Ways to Help the Homeless.” https://thetyee.ca/Views/2008/12/09/HelpHomeless