4 Ways to Help Homeless in Winter
This winter, over 5400 people in the metro Atlanta area will be living on the street.
While many places around the City of Atlanta open various shelters when the temperature is near or below freezing, people will be turned away for lack of beds leaving many unsheltered.
Here are four ways that you can help unsheltered homeless this winter.
A great way to help the homeless is to help the organizations that serve them. During the winter, shelters and homeless outreach programs are at their busiest and resources tapped the hardest.
You can support these organizations serving homeless by giving a small financial contribution.
To help HOPE Atlanta, click here.
2. Give Homeless Tools to Survive
While thousands of homeless will find shelter from the frigid temperatures this winter, space in homeless shelters are limited. As a result, many are turned away for lack of resources.
Another way to help unsheltered homeless in the winter is to provide them basic supplies to survive frigid temperatures. They include:
a. Warm Clothing
Living on the street is tough year-around. However, winter poses a specific threat to unsheltered homeless. While hypothermia can set in at 50 degrees, most warming stations do not open until temperatures drop to 40 degrees or below. As temperatures drop, it creates a higher risk of hypothermia and other cold-induced sickness.
By donating blankets, coats, gloves and scarves to homeless on the street or donating the items to your local homeless shelter or outreach program, you can guarantee both sheltered and unsheltered homeless can have the essential tools to keep warm.
To organize a warm clothes drop-off, click here.
If you see someone who appears to be homeless, give them HOPE Atlanta’s information. We can assess their needs and provide them services or refer them to organizations that can better suit their needs.
Our address is below:
34 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 700
Atlanta, GA 30303
3. Care Packages
In addition to food and warmth, homeless also struggle to maintain their cleanliness. Care packages are designed to help relieve some of the discomfort felt by the both sheltered and unsheltered homeless and keep them clean, fed and warm. Bags can include an assortment of basic necessities such as food, money, warm clothes and hygiene products that are difficult for the homeless to obtain on their own. Many of these items we have in our cabinets, such as snack bars or travel-sized soaps and lotions.
If you would like to donate care packages, please visit our website.
Cold winter weather brings an overwhelming number of homeless into shelters and various homeless outreach programs. This can lead to an overworked staff and underserved clients. By volunteering at your local shelter or outreach program you can provide a bit of relief to volunteers and staff who are stretched thin.
If you live in the metro Atlanta area, the following shelters and outreach programs are great places to volunteer:
4. Advocate for Affordable Housing
Lack of affordable housing remains one of the leading causes of homelessness. While it is a lot more complicated than writing a check or handing out blankets, petitioning policymakers to support for affordable housing is one of the few ways to ensure long-term change in our goal to end homelessness in our community.
Reach out to your City Councilperson or County Commissioner and tell them homelessness and affordable housing are vital issues in our community. Then, ask them to support initiatives to end homelessness and ensure housing is affordable to anyone.
To find your State legislator, click here.
To locate your City Councilperson, Google Local [city] Councilman locator.
About HOPE Atlanta
HOPE Atlanta offers an array of services including emergency services and permanent supportive housing, case management, street outreach, homeless prevention, domestic violence services, Veterans services, HIV/AIDS services, reunification, and rapid re-housing. The majority of the people we assist are homeless or about to become homeless and have very low income. Many are chronically homeless, veterans, victims of domestic violence, suffering from mental or physical illness, or chemically addicted.
Want to help HOPE Atlanta end homelessness in our community, donate here.