If you live or work in or happen to visit a community with a street homeless population, you may pass individuals who are homeless on the street and hurry by, averting your eyes. But there are a few things that you can say to them which might actually help them.
A September 10, 2014 Nationswell article by Winston Ross helps humanize the face of homelessness and tells us little things we can say to offer help, bestow kindness, provide a social connection and offer goodwill.
And on the flip side, he lets us know what not to say – statements and questions that assume that the individual has not already sought help, has the option of spending the night in a shelter, is able to work or is derogatory to homeless individuals in general.
Stopping to say, “I don’t have money but is there anything that I can do to help you?” or “Good morning” or “I will keep you in my thoughts” are all positive helpful and simple steps that could make the difference in someone’s life.
Asking someone who is homeless “Why don’t you get help?” or “Why don’t you go to a shelter?” or saying “Get a job!” is not compassionate.
These are the five things to say:
“I don’t have money, but is there another way I can help you?”