Posted by on Dec 12, 2016 Views: 3081

Charities Focused on Helping the Homeless

homeless_manAlmost all of us see and interact with people experiencing homelessness on a daily basis, and in some cities the housing options are so limited that the experience of running into homeless kids and families isn’t abnormal. Like many social issues, homelessness and lack of housing—even for kids and youth—have become normalized simply because the issue is so widespread, and many people aren’t sure how they can get involved. We compiled some statistics about homelessness in the U.S.:

  • More than 57,000 veterans are homeless each night, according to the Huffington Post
  • 25% of people experiencing homelessness are children, or roughly 138,000 kids on any given night
  • One in five people experiencing homelessness is suffering from a severe mental illness

Especially in the colder months, homelessness can put a person’s physical health and safety in real danger. Finding creative solutions to the problems that prevent people from accessing housing is one of the most important challenges facing today’s policymakers and philanthropists. From nonprofits that provide people food and shelter to charities that focus on advocacy and legal aid, people all over the country are applying their skills to charities focused on helping the homeless. We decided to highlight a few on GreatNonprofits that are making a difference in cities around the country:

Shelter Partnership in Los Angelesshelter-partnership

Shelter Partnership is a nonprofit that works to address homelessness in Los Angeles through policy analysis, resource development, advocacy work, and the distribution of goods and supplies to shelters around the city. In the past fiscal year, they provided $11.4 million worth of goods to 247 different shelters in the communities they serve. By supporting other nonprofits that provide immediate relief to people experiencing homelessness and also working to address the underlying structural issues that prevent people from accessing housing, the Shelter Partnership is tackling the problem of homelessness on all levels. One client works at another nonprofit that receives goods from the Shelter Partnership. He wrote, “For the past three years Shelter Partnership has provided toys to our campus to give to the children of student veterans. A lot of times our vets are full-time students that rely on the G.I. Bill to pay for rent, food, utilities, and child care. Some may not be able to pay for Christmas gifts. With the help of Shelter Partnership we were able to provide toys and meals to the veterans and their children.”

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless in Chicago

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless organizes and advocates to prevent and end homelessness through legal assistance and outreach programs. About half of their casework focuses on protecting the rights of children and teens experiencing homelessness who are struggling to attend public school. Their Young Futures program is a mobile legal aid clinic that serves homeless and unaccompanied youth, and their housing project advocates the development of affordable housing and shelter access. One board member wrote, “Through advocacy, CCH fights to give a voice to a people whose challenges to simply survive make it difficult to speak for themselves. That’s a pretty special, rare thing.”

P.A.’L.A.N.T.E. Harlem in New York City

P.A.’L.A.N.T.E. Harlem focuses on tenant organizing, leadership development, and providing legal services to residents of New York’s Harlem neighborhood. An historically black neighborhood in Manhattan, Harlem has undergone such a thorough and rapid transformation in the past few decades due to gentrification that the demographics of the community are nearly unrecognizable. Many longtime residents are struggling to stay in their homes, and P.A.’L.A.N.T.E. addresses their concerns through a program that achieves quantifiable results: $2.9 million in legal assistance, pro bono representation to 694 families, and 252 families’ rents frozen at individual apartments. One woman described a legal dispute she had with her landlord and the help she received from this nonprofit: “I came here, they got me an attorney even though I didn’t have to give him anything except my smile. I had the money for the rent, but not for the legal and marshal’s fees. I was able to get a “one-shot deal” from the city. Now I am back in my apartment with my three children. My apartment is finally being repaired! You see, that was why the owner sued me in court in the first place; I had started asking for repairs.”

Charities focused on helping the homeless are addressing both the immediate and long-term needs of people in their communities. If you were inspired by the work of these incredible nonprofits, check out our Top-Rated Homeless and Housing charities, and share this page to raise awareness. GreatNonprofits compiles information on hundreds of nonprofits in your local community and around the country that are addressing causes you care about. Browse our site to volunteer or donate, and get involved today!