On any given night, over 750,000 individuals are homeless in the United States. According the National Alliance to End Homelessness, 44% of these individuals are staying on the streets and are without safe shelter accommodations. There is a huge need for outreach services to be made available for this vulnerable demographic.
Some ideas for homeless outreach services include:
Art classes you say? Well, lets think about it. Life on the street is nothing if not harsh reality. These people have long given up their dreams and sense of imagination. Help them bring it out again by offering free art classes on a weekly basis. After several works have been completed, you might consider holding a public art show. The pride of having their work exhibited will go a long way in helping to rebuild their self worth.
Instead of the standard soup kitchen, invite them to come early and help prepare the food. By helping to prepare and serve the food, it will feel more like an earned reward and less like a handout.
Access to the Internet is becoming increasingly necessary for job hunting and career building. Public libraries often provide free Internet access, but are limited by funds and policy. Ask church members to donate old computers when they upgrade their system.
When was the last time a homeless person had a chance to go to the movies? Rent some new releases, or go for the classics. Set up a bunch of chairs in front of a projection screen, or even a television and VCR hookup. Make sure to provide all the standard snacks (popcorn, sodas, etc). This could be an especially powerful program if you have a large homeless family population.
Think about what you need to be comfortable outside in your area during the different seasons. Live in a rainy area? Hand out ponchos and donated umbrellas. Hot and dry in the summer? Sun block and water bottles. Bitterly cold winters? Blankets and jackets.
Pets Are People Too
Many homeless people have dogs as companions. Often they are strays they meet on the street. Collect donations of leashes, dog food, chew toys, etc. You do your best to take care of your pet. The homeless are no different.
For more information on developing homeless outreach ministries, please visit: