by CCID 2 Jul 2019

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Ways to show generosity to people living on the street

In the special supplement, The Tough Times, contained in the winter 2019 issue of City Views, various ways to show generosity to people living on the street are highlighted. Here are some of them…

We often feel overwhelmed when we confront homelessness and don’t know how to react or help this vulnerable community. The challenges are big, but there are small things you can do to make a difference.

Homelessness is a complex problem but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming, according to Greg Andrews, former convener of the Street People’s Forum, a sector body formed by organisations whose clients include people living on the streets of Cape Town. In an online article, he points out that “there are many things that you as an individual can do”. Here are some of his suggestions:

1. Treat people with dignity and respect. “Offering people whom you encounter on the street a friendly smile and a warm greeting doesn’t cost anything yet it is priceless for someone who is often forced to operate on the fringes of society,” says Greg.

2. Share your time and resources. You can donate money, time or goods directly to NGOs that work with homeless people living on the street.

3. Speak up. “Society in general prefers to turn a blind eye and often treats people who live on the street as invisible and highly undesirable,” Greg notes. By having conversations with your friends, family and colleagues and with streetpeople themselves, you can help raise awareness of the fact that this is a complex problem that demands our collective attention. 4. Support change. There are many reasons why people end up living on the street including unemployment, domestic violence, mental illness, and addiction. “By supporting and lobbying for policies and structures that address some of these root causes you can help to prevent more people turning to the street as their only recourse,” says Greg.


IMAGE: Gary Dyssel