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:
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."