The number of people experiencing homelessness is on the rise nationally, a problem that has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. The causes of the national rising homeless crisis extend far beyond untreated mental-health conditions. In fact, as of 2020, according to The Human Impact 25% of unhoused people are employed with 40–60% floating in and out of employment for various reasons. Meaning that the cost of living is simply too high for people to afford a home on top of transportation costs, food costs, and medical care. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, many people experiencing homelessness find themselves in this position due to a lack of low income housing, escaping violence, racial injustice, and other health problems.
According to Los Angeles, CA’s ABC 7 News, in 2020 “about 568,000 people in the United States are experiencing homelessness, with 151,000 in California, 66,436 in Los Angeles County,” meaning that the population of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County alone accounts for 11.7% of the national population. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, LAHSA was unable to do their annual count of people experiencing homelessness.
Here are a number of great organizations helping the current homeless population while fighting to end the systemic issues causing this failure in our current society that doesn’t seem to have any real safety net for those in need.
Coalition for the Homeless:
The Coalition for the Homeless is a New York-based organization to help people fight homelessness and hunger in the city. It hosts Project: Back to School to collect and distribute backpacks and school supplies to homeless children and a toy drive during the holiday season. Each night, the group runs the Grand Central Food Program to deliver meals to roughly 1,000 people around New York City.
Bread for the World:
Bread for the World, urges people to help end hunger both nationally and internationally. It equips people to write personal letters and emails, meet with members of Congress, and work with others to end world hunger.
Homeless Outreach Population Estimate:
New York City’s Department of Homeless Services conducts its Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) every January. The city-wide volunteer effort spans all five boroughs in the city and draws in thousands of volunteers each year with the goal of encouraging unsheltered people into more stable environments.
The Hunger Project:
The global nonprofit organization, The Hunger Project, is committed to strategizing a sustainable end to world hunger. Based on sustainable, grassroots, women-centered strategies, those involved in the organization aim for a world where every woman, man, and child can lead a healthy and fulfilling life of self-reliance and dignity. They advocate for the widespread adoption of their strategies in countries around the world.
The National Black Food and Justice Alliance:
The National Black Food and Justice Alliance (NBFJA) is a collection of organizations that aim to reverse Black land loss, prevent food insecurity in Black communities, and promote the work of Black farmers. They go about achieving this by engaging in broad-based coalitions and increasing the visibility of Black-led narratives and work, among other strategies.
Bread for the City:
Based out of Washington, D.C., Bread for the City is dedicated to providing food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services to reduce the burden of poverty. They strive to help all residents in need gain access to the basic material resources they need for survival and growth, and the prosperity of their social, emotional, and spiritual lives.
LA Family Housing:
Los Angeles based organization LA Family Housing focuses on helping people transition out of homelessness and poverty through a continuum of housing enriched with supportive services. LAFH connects participants with housing placement combined with supportive services to help thousands of people transition out of homelessness and retain long-term housing stability.
People Assisting The Homeless:
PATH works in six regions throughout California to end homelessness for individuals, families, and communities. They focus their work on creating high-quality, affordable and stable homes for people struggling with the high-cost of housing in California, particularly families and individuals experiencing homelessness.
In addition to donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to ending hunger and homelessness, consider also supporting restaurants that fight hunger by donating food. An Insider article details 6 restaurants that are combating food waste by donating food to local nonprofit organizations and those in need. Their list includes chains such as Pret A Manger and Panera Bread as well as fine dining restaurants in New York City like Cosme and Le Bernardin. Hopefully other restaurants and corporate chains will follow suit in this effort to not waste food at the end of each day.