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Concerned About Homelessness? Here's A List Of Do's And Don'ts.

There have been some standouts in the field of homelessness reduction recently — some good and notable, some appalling and notable. Take this as a PSA:

Concerned About Homelessness? Here's A List Of Do's And Don'ts.

DO: Create public showers.

Pope Francis just commissioned the building of showers for the homeless in St. Peter's Square. Making spaces for self-care and cleanliness is essential for social reintegration and illness prevention. This guy gets it. We <3 you too.


DON'T: Arrest people for feeding the homeless.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, arrested three men — a 90-year-old chef and two pastors — for feeding the homeless.

And Fort Lauderdale is not alone. Find out if your city or state is making it illegal to assist the homeless.

DO: Invest in thoughtful housing policy.

Many cities are beginning to implement "Housing First" policies. Here's what they're about:

DON'T: Take pictures of the homeless like they're spectacles.

Wendy Syfret of VICE News gets a lot of submitted photos depicting the homeless. She has something to say about that and the people who send in those photos for reprint:

"You're not creating some sort of outsider art by taking a picture of someone less fortunate than you. You're at best a passive observer and at worst a predator. It's a way to shortcut your own experience by hijacking someone else's. A picture of a homeless person says one thing: 'I am an asshole.'

If you want to make a statement about the state of public health care, mental health, affordable housing, or abuse, then do that. Spend time with people, talk to them, have an agenda and a message you formulate yourself and commit to it."

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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