1. Recognize differences.
Factors leading to homelessness vary. There are women with children fleeing a bad relationship, veterans struggling with addiction or mental health issues, and those who are employed but not able to make ends meet…just to name a few.
2. Acknowledge them.
Treat them as a human being by making eye contact and saying hello. If the situation is safe, take a little extra time to engage in conversation. Taking time to talk to a homeless person in a friendly, respectful manner can give them a sense of civility and dignity.
3. Be cautious.
Some homeless people may have criminal backgrounds or mental health or addiction issues. Use discernment, and stay in areas where other people can see you when ministering to those who are homeless.
4. Don’t give money.
The majority of panhandlers are not homeless. Too often, well-intended gifts may go toward drugs or alcohol.
5. Offer an alternative.
Providing tangible resources like clean socks, soap, granola bars, water bottles, a bus ticket, or a gift certificate to a fast food restaurant is a great way to show you care.
6. Direct them to the Daniel Pitino Shelter.
The Daniel Pitino Shelter strives to demonstrate the love of Christ by offering emergency services, residential programs, and can direct to addiction recovery, medical help, and other programs for men, women, and children in need.
7. Become an advocate.
Offer your voice and resources and time to volunteer. We can always use volunteers at the Pitino Shelter!
8. Pray for them and share God’s love whenever you can.
If Jesus were walking the earth today, He would speak with, heal, and help the homeless. Today, Jesus chooses to work through people to care for others.