I was driving this morning to take my kids to their school/daycare and saw a group of homeless people huddled together. They are there everyday, but today was different. For the first time I noticed them shivering. Of course this probably isn't the first time they have shivered in the cold, just the first time it caught my eye. So as I'm pulling in to my warm home I was thinking a 100 miles per hour what can I do. My husband and I work hard for our money and I don't believe in just giving it away. In fact I have never given 1 cent away to the homeless, mainly due to my fear of supporting someone's addiction?!? I thought that I have alot of beans, etc (I stock up on them ...my own addiction..lol) and I having a good bit of sewing things. Now, what if I got a group together of willing participants and took out some food, and the sewing items, and asked them to make the blankets in return for the food. We would take the blankets and then sell them at various places. I believe very strongly in earning your keep, but seriously I can see the vicious cycle that one can land in when homeless. Nobody will hire you, lack of skills, hygiene, proper clothing, etc. It seems like if they had something to offer besides a hand out with a change cup, maybe people would be more likely to help as well. My hope is that this will give the ones who want to participate something to look forward to while earning their own money after the blankets are completed. Another thing that erks me is when I see our christian counterparts using the homeless to pass out the little 'god comics' and wanting to sell 50 cent melted candy for $2.50, I think more can be offered and recieved. I don't believe in any god, but I do believe in the power of people to help make some changes. My intent isn't to start prosthylizing, however, it does take more than praying to change situations. If I'm asked I would gladly tell them about being godless and good. So what do you guys think? I'm under no illusions that some may try to take advantage and others will be honest, and I don't believe this is going to make anyone a millionaire.....but maybe with hard work it may eliminate a few off the streets and into a place to live. Naive or practical?

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I think this is a great idea but I would suggest you do it through the existing agencies and shelters rather than directly with the homeless on the streets.

There are a lot of problems you could encounter with direct contact, which you might not be able to handle.

If you were to go to a shelter and through the shelter staff organize homeless volunteers for this project I think it could become quite successful and offers a lot of benefits in terms of improving self-image, etc. (not just financial).

My son works with disadvantaged children and homeless youth so I know a little about the issues that might come up.

In Canada, the vast majority of the homeless are made up of people who are mentally ill and either not treated, refusing treatment, or not taking their prescribed medications.

So direct contact on the streets would be a bit risky for a person who isn't trained in dealing with these special needs people.

Just some thoughts and things to consider.

Wish you well in this terrific and caring project.
Thank you Trance, I appreciate your honesty. I was thinking about going to an agency, but around El Paso the ones I've been to all seem to just want to sell food items. This poses a huge problem because hardly anyone wants to buy something they can eat and become sick (potentially...I wouldn't do it). Perhaps if I made my proposal to the management it would go further. I can honestly tell you that I don't have a clue how shelters are run, only the rumours I've heard about. I was told that you can only stay at a shelter for less than a week at a time, and things like that. My 1st homework assignment would be to do some fact finding, and lay rumours aside. I suppose I try to think about how I would be more inclined to help. I would be willing to even pay extra for something someone done trying to help themselves...as opposed to just giving away my money for someone not trying at least to earn it. I have more of a 'help me, help you, to help yourself' mentality. People are on the streets for different reasons, and I know some are mentally ill. However, I hadn't thought about the ones who refuse to take their medications or what have ya. Very interesting, thanks again for your reply.
Perhaps if I made my proposal to the management it would go further.

This is exactly how you would need to proceed.

In the US, I think your homeless population is from a wider demographic than ours is in Canada because we have a very strong social safety net.

So, fact finding is a really good idea.

Our shelters operate very differently in Canada for a lot of reasons (the weather being a big one).

It's too cold in the Winter here to restrict people to one week at a time for example.

We have people going out and trying to track down the homeless and take them to shelters so that they don't freeze to death.

I don't want to discourage you at all from this project though because it's a great idea!

I believe strongly in the concept of Helping People Help Themselves as well.

This approach provides long term solutions and benefits and actually helps to alleviate the problems.

So I'm with you all the way. :-)
Why? Because this answer will create higher social value for me in the discussion boards of A/N.

Why should that matter to you or anyone for that matter?
Because it creates higher social value

On what grounds?
No argument.

However, what has this got to do with helping the homeless?

Antoyne. I've been watching your antics for a little while now with amusement.

You like to shake things up, cut through the "Dose", and incite people to think about what they're saying.

I get that and I'm actually okay with it.

I think you've made some good points in other posts, not in this one.

This post was specifically intended to piss me off.

Sorry it didn't work, mainly because I don't believe you actually believe that.

And if you do I'm pretty sure I can reason you out of it because I believe that is exactly what you are looking for: Reason and Logic being applied consistently.

However, there are actually better (and far more amusing) ways to do that which you are trying to do and will have the additional bonus of not pissing everyone off.

If you'd like to discuss it me further, rather than sidelining this thread, how about if you join the Group I started called the Virtual Holy Temple of the Pink Unicorn and I will start a thread which I will restrict to only and me and our discussion.

It will be public so that people can view it but I won't let anyone interfere in the flow of our discussion.

If you're good with that I'll see you there. Okay?
My city(Seattle) has a pretty serious problem with homelessness. Our shelters provide about 1/3 of the beds needed for the homeless population, and they're notorious for lice and bedbugs. A lot of the services are strapped for cash. The group that provides bus tickets ran out of money, some of the shelters have had to close down, and the food banks don't have as much food as they used to.

The city also has a zero tolerance policy on shanty towns. This means that whenever they try to organize, and a find a place to set up(typically a church parking lot), the group offering help recieves threats from the city and the group is forced to leave. Recently, one group was arrested in the middle of the night, and as a result lost most of their possesions(tents, sleeping bags, clothing etc.)

I do what I can with what little money I have(full-time student). I tend to buy the news paper they sell, and when I can give food, I give food. I keep hoping to find a group of non-believers out there that want to help out, and maybe see if there's some sort of volunteer activity we can co-ordinate with one of the other groups out there, but I don't know where to start. Surely I'm not the only one in my city.
Thanks for posting that.
You're welcome. It seemed relevant. I'm glad you found it so.
You might be interested in the following charity then Adriana.


It's all about helping people help themselves and it has now spread to the US.

That is, you can now contribute to Americans who are trying to pull themselves out of poverty.

If you join, make sure you join the Atheists group so that your contributions appear under both your name and theirs.

There's a little friendly competition going between the Kiva Christians Team and the Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious Team :-)

We're winning ;-)




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