60 Minutes just aired a special last night on an important topic: Mobile Homelessness & Children
Our recent financial crisis in the US has resulted in many families ending up on the streets and/or living in vehicles. Millions of these individuals are children. Please take a moment to watch this video of the broadcast:
The following is a simple list of ideas I put together a couple of years ago for people desiring to do something about mobile homelessness. I hope you would consider joining many of us around the country who desire to participate in ending homelessness:
- Get to Know Names – One of the best ways to serve our houseless friends with vehicles is to build friendships. Beyond most physical needs, people desire relationship. Develop a habit of memorizing names. A simple way of doing this is to use their name during your initial conversation. We must see people first, not issues.
- Brown Bag a Meal – Carry around a couple of brown bag meals of non-perishable goods in your car to give out when needed. Be sure to use open-friendly cans if possible (unless you plan to give out can openers as well).
- Socks Matter – Distributing clean socks is a simple yet extremely practical way of helping those on the streets or living in vehicles. It’s something that most of us take for granted, but is essential to our well being.
- Gas Card Donations – One of the most practical needs for our houseless friends with vehicles is gas. Consider carrying around a couple of gas cards to give out when needed.
- First Aid Kits – Carry around a couple of small first aid kits to give out when needed. Kits should include some of the common items needed including bandages, ointments, wipes, gauzes, etc.
- DMV Registration – Many of our houseless friends with vehicles tend to have invalid car registrations. As a result, they end up paying monthly passes for private parking lots so that their vehicles are not ticketed or towed away by law enforcement. Consider sponsoring a DMV registration for one of our houseless friends.
- Network Local Businesses – Approach local automotive businesses to consider sponsoring periodic services including smog checks, transmission work, oil changes, etc.
- Partner with Great Organizations & Movements – There are several organizations locally and nationally that you could partner with in ending homelessness. I’m personally connected with organizations like PATH, InvisiblePeople.tv, and the Salvation Army.
- Laundry Love Project – Partner with JustOne in hosting a Laundry Love Project that brings reprieve to our houseless friends through the sponsoring of laundry. During Laundry Love Projects, people are served through various means including tutoring for children, basic medical care, food giveaways, job placement, etc., all while getting their clothes washed at a local Laundromat. Visit www.just4one.org for more information.
- Generosity Party – Invite friends and family to a generosity party. Share briefly about the reality of houselessness in America. Challenge your guests to consider giving monthly towards a communal pot of generosity for the purposes of fulfilling the needs of our houseless friends through tangible solutions (see list above).