What should I do when someone asks me to give them money and I’m unable to do so?
“I don’t have any money for you at the moment but I do give you my love and respect”. We realize the reality of panhandling and limited resources. It is unsustainable and unproductive to give money to every homeless person that asks for it, and many times it is not in their best interests to receive it. This statement of recognition brings an air of positivity, self esteem, dignity and respect that has the power to do much more good than any dollar could ever do.
How do we get these people jobs?
It is probably true that for some homeless, simply an income or a job would help them return to a certain level of normalcy. For those who simply need a job, there are many opportunities available, including: Project Homeless Connect in San Francisco, PATH in Los Angeles, and Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena. With LA Mayor Garcetti declaring a “State of Emergency” on homelessness and putting $100mm to work, there will be even more of these opportunities in the near future.
However, since the causes of homelessness are so diverse, the solution is more complex than just “giving them a job”. For example, the largest cause of homelessness is drug addiction, and there are many causes of addiction. A job would not necessarily help these people escape the clutches of homelessness.
The common thread between all homeless persons is that they are deeply hurting inside or mentally ill. By the time a person becomes homeless he or she has exhausted all possible support networks or believes to have done so. Friends and family can no longer provide support or are unwilling to do so and any relationships left are often predatory in nature. it is very much a lonely and disparaging experience. Those who have never experienced this first hand can’t really comprehend this level of solitude. The problem of homelessness is less about a job and more about being loved, accepted, and being respected as a fellow human being. Without a feeling of being wanted by society, it becomes nearly impossible to restore and maintain healthy relationships, which is critical to getting off the streets.
There are already organizations that focus on food, shelter, health, and job opportunities. Silver Lake Love helps these people get off the streets by showing them that they are human beings, respected, a part of our society, and most importantly, LOVED.
Why do you think giving them clothes is such a big deal?
Silver Lake Love is not about just giving clothing to the homeless. The more important thing we’re accomplishing is showing them that they are human beings, respected, a part of our society, and most importantly, LOVED. Designing awesome apparel and gifting it to them is just one method we’ve chosen to do this. The secondary benefit is that clean and new clothing allows them to better represent themselves in order to restore and maintain healthy connections and bond with more people.
Homeless people have access to housing and shelters. The reason they don’t utilize these resources is because they want to get drunk, do drugs, and not have any responsibilities, which is not allowed by the shelters.
The person you’ve described comprises a small percentage of those without homes. There are many valid reasons for not wanting to stay in a shelter. Here is one common real life scenario. Imagine that you have not a cent to your name, you’re kicked out of your shelter and told to go to another shelter 20 miles away. You panhandle, and make the 10 dollars it takes to get to that shelter. You finally arrive, its 10pm and the shelter is a 20×20 room filled with 30 other people who are forced to be on the floor with no bed, no blanket, no pillow. And the people? They are loud, mentally unstable, and all eyeing your things. Some of them verbally assault you, and some are not conscious or capable of comprehending reality. Then, the manager of the shelter comes to tell you that you do not qualify to stay there or that the shelter is full. They kick you out, and you are back onto the streets again and it is 40 degrees.