For about every 10,000 people in the United States, there are 17.7 who are homeless, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. While this sounds like a conservative number, there are nowhere near enough homeless shelters to cater to all of those who have nowhere to stay in most places. This leads to homeless shelters which are overrun, with staff that is overstretched, and lack of funding. As the ordinary individual, you may be thinking you just don't have the money to help even though you wish you could. What you should know is this: even with no money, there are easy ways to provide assistance to homeless shelters in your area.
Stop by and volunteer a few hours of your time.
Because homeless shelters most often operate as nonprofit organizations, having enough funding to pay staff is often a challenge, especially for small independent organizations that do not get their funding from church groups or other affiliations. Therefore, most of these places are in constant need of extra hands to help them out. If you have a few extra hours on your day off or even 30 minutes of free time between work and home, stop in and volunteer your services. You may be sent to the kitchen to help serve meals, asked to help clean up, or given other usual tasks at the shelter.
Collect clothing, blankets, and food for the shelter.
It doesn't take money to hold a charity drive among family, friends, or even coworkers or fellow classmates. Post a few flyers at school, work, or in your neighborhood and set up a free Facebook page explaining your efforts and what you will be collecting. Allow everyone to drop off their donated goods with you or ata designated location. Homeless shelters are constantly in need of things like clothing, jackets, socks and shoes, personal grooming items, blankets, and food.
Volunteer your professional services.
If you have a certain professional skill but no money to give, you could still help out at the homeless shelter by volunteering your services. For example, if you are skilled with marketing, you could offer to advertise a community outreach program for the shelter when they are in need of donations or if you have psychological therapy experience, you could offer free therapy group sessions a few nights a month at the shelter. If you are a cosmetologist, you could offer free haircuts to residents at the shelter a few days out of the month.
Contact a shelter like Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities to learn more about how to help out a homeless shelter in the area.