World Kindness Day: 7 Kind Things You Can Do for Unhoused People Today
Have you ever been in a drive-through and had the person in front of you pay for your meal? And then maybe you pay it forward to the person behind you. And they pay it forward to the person behind them. And then 30 minutes later the chain is still going.
This can be heartwarming, when you experience it or hear it on the news. Big kindness events like this are often spurred by reminders to be kind, such as World Kindness Day.
This year, World Kindness Day was on Sunday, November 13. But a week later, Thrive DC is still here, talking about kindness. Thrive DC wants kindness to be at the front of everyone’s minds every day. We believe that it is through kindness, compassion, and caring for others that real change, both big and small, will happen for the homeless community.
So, we’re here to provide you with some ways you can be kind to unhoused people, today and every day.
- This is one of the most obvious answers, but it's still important. Thrive DC relies upon your generosity to do our work. Thrive aims to be a constant source of aid in the lives of the homeless, who often face uncertainty and continuous change. Your donations of money, clothes, hygiene and menstrual products, and more all support the health and well-being of the clients we serve.
- Donations do not have to be tangible or financial. Donating your time to Thrive ensures our programs can run and serve our clients’ needs. Volunteer programs involve administrative work, serving food, and more. You can also donate your hobbies by teaching a skill to our clients. Finally, you could volunteer your time by running a coat or clothing drive and donating the collections.
- Homelessness is a complex issue. Learning more about the barriers that unhoused people face can help you to be a better ally to the community. Thrive DC has Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and blog pages where you can learn more about what barriers our programs address and why they are important.
Educate Friends, Family, and Your Children
- There are many stereotypes about homelessness. When you hear a friend or family member invoke one of these prejudices, use gentle language to share your own educated opinion on the topic. Teaching your children to be kind and compassionate to unhoused people also makes a huge difference. Use age appropriate language and topics to explain the issues of homelessness and what we can do to help.
Employ the Homeless
- Because they lack an address and may not have access to an extensive wardrobe or hygiene facilities, many businesses refuse to hire unhoused people. This perpetuates the cycle of homelessness. If you are in a position to hire people, accepting unhoused applicants is one thing you can do to help end homelessness.
Support Other Social Justice Causes
- Homelessness does not exist in a vacuum. It exists as a result of systemic issues that disempower certain groups of people. While deeply affordable housing initiatives is one of Thrive DC’s focus areas, we also support initiatives for:
- Racial Justice
- Expanded Healthcare
- A Living Minimum Wage
- Mental Health Justice
- Ending Domestic Violence
- Changes to the Incarceration System and Re-entry
- Respond with Kindness and Treating Others with Dignity
Thrive DC understands that the average person does not have the funds to give money to every unhoused person they interact with on the street. We also know that homelessness is a systemic problem that will take concentrated efforts from a government level to end–something that the average person does not have control over. But there is something you can do every single day: treat unhoused people with kindness, respect, and dignity. We are all human. We are all people desiring social recognition and respect. Make safe decisions, but when possible, smile, say hi, and hold kind intentions in your heart.
World Kindness Day might have been Sunday, but Thrive DC urges you to make kindness a priority every day. We experience such kindness from our clients, and we hope to provide a kind and caring space with resources and community in return for them.
What kind action from this list will you do today?