6 Things You Can Actually Do to Help a Homeless Person

6 Things You Can Actually Do to Help a Homeless Person May 1, 2024

a homeless person in the street
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Have you ever felt guilty whenever you encounter a beggar or a homeless person? What do you usually do?

Some people may be so used to seeing beggars in the streets that they simply look away. For some, their hesitation to help comes from the idea that homeless people are usually drug addicts or alcoholics who would only use the money to buy harmful substances for themselves. Others say that since they already pay taxes, it is the government’s responsibility to help these people.

On the other hand, there are people who may not actually know what they can do to help their less fortunate neighbors. They may give them some money, but the thought of their short encounter may haunt them all day, filling them with guilt that they just couldn’t give enough.

How do you actually help a homeless person? Should you or should you not try to help them directly at all?

Here are some specific things you can consider when trying to help a homeless person:

1. Treat them with respect

People deserve to be respected whether they are rich or not. The Bible clearly says that discriminating other people because of their financial condition is a sign that we are not loving our neighbor.

“My brothers, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if a man with gold rings on his fingers and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here, please,” while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs? – James 2:1-4 (NABRE)

2. Pray for them

These are trying times. And we may not always have enough money to give to every homeless person we see. But even in the most difficult days, we can always pray for our brothers and sisters in need.

“And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called ‘the Beautiful Gate’ every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, [rise and] walk.’ Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong. He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God.” – Acts 3:2-8 (NABRE)

Who could possibly know what your prayer can do? With God, nothing is impossible. We were not meant only to help others with their material needs but with their spiritual needs as well.

3. Give them food or any immediate need

Other people say that it would be better to give to social and charitable organizations that help the poor rather than directly giving alms to them. This would keep them off the streets and the money you give may be better spent in more effective programs for the homeless.

In my personal opinion, however, although we should not neglect supporting charitable institutions, it wouldn’t hurt to give to people who are directly asking for our help.

When there is a beggar who approaches you saying he has not eaten for days, how could you simply turn away? If you have a biscuit or a packed food that can satisfy their immediate hunger, why not give it to them?

4. Donate to verified charitable organizations

As previously mentioned, we should consider donating to charitable organizations who specialize in helping the poor.

By giving them our support, they can come up with programs that can help the homeless more effectively.

5. Don’t judge

No matter what other people are saying about the poor, let us not judge them. And let us not assume that every homeless person is the same as other ones.

Why judge when you don’t know their whole story? Even if you someone know another person’s misfortune, you can’t possibly know everything about him or her. Only God knows and we should let Him be the judge.

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” – Mother Teresa

6. Assist if you can in giving them a job

If you have the ability and the resources for it, why not assist the homeless in finding a job?

You can coordinate with charitable institutions or Church organizations to help other people make a decent living and finally get off the streets.

What would the saints have done?

Whenever we have a dilemma about giving or helping our neighbor, let us turn to the example of the saints. How did they help the poor people around them?

We already read about what St. Peter did to the beggar asking for money. And we can read some more from the lives of other saints.

St. Faustina once gave food to a poor young man in tattered clothes and discovered that he was actually Jesus in disguise! She later heard these words:

“My daughter, the blessings of the poor who bless Me as they leave this gate have reached My ears. And your compassion… has pleased Me, and this is why I came down from My throne – to taste the fruits of your mercy.” (Divine Mercy in My Soul 1312)

Jesus is indeed among the homeless and the poor. What are we going to do today to imitate His mercy?

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’” – Matthew 25:34-36 (NABRE)

You may also want to read “Why It Makes Sense To Give Until It Hurts”

Jocelyn Soriano is the author of Mend My Broken Heart, Defending My Catholic Faith and 366 Days of Compassion. She also writes about faith and writing at Single Catholic Writer.

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About Jocelyn Soriano
Jocelyn Soriano is an author, poet, and book reviewer. She is an introvert who enjoys a cup of coffee and listening to the cello ****** while working.

She wrote the books To Love an Invisible God, Defending My Catholic Faith and Mend My Broken Heart. She also wrote books on poetry including Poems of Love and Letting Go and Of Waves and Butterflies: Poems on Grief. She has published more than 15 books and developed her own Android applications including God’s Promises and Catholic Answers and Apologetics.

She writes about relationships and common questions about God and the Catholic faith at Single Catholic Writer. She is currently single and happy and she would like everyone to know how happy we can be by drawing close to the love of God!

You can read more about the author here.

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