How to Help

What if thousands of volunteers helped hundreds of thousands of people living on the streets by providing practical supplies, a friendly face, and wellness tips?  This is what we can together do through Street Care.

Here you’ll find practical advice about how to make and take care items to people who are homeless. You do not have to be an expert! During the COVID pandemic, practical care is more important than ever. 

1- Watch our how-to video series below (videos are only 60 seconds long). You can also print the tips, if you’d like.
2- Check out our Toolkit, with printable resources, and our approach. Review or print the tips below. Scripts are in each Youtube video.
3- Fill out the ‘I want to help!’ form, even if you’re not sure yet when.
4- Go out and be safe. Bring care kits or even just a water jug (and wellness and health tips!).
5- Then, fill out the ‘After you go out’ form. This helps Street Care better serve you and those on the street.

Get all this on our convenient App.  Have other ways you’d like to help?  Let us know. We want to work with you!

Your smile is an important way to connect!  During the COVID pandemic, you may want to pull down your mask when you are at least 6 feet away from people. As always, being careful is highest priority.

We do not recommend giving money. This is always your personal choice, but we recommend taking very little money with you as you do Street Care.


How-to Videos

Introduction to Street Outreach

How to Prepare: Introduction to Street Outreach

Learn how to make preparations to perform outreach, including items to put in your “Care Bags”

Quick Tips:

  • Individual bags are easier to carry around
  • Stick with basic items like soap, socks, and snacks
  • Carry Street Care wellness information to pass out

 


You Can Do It!: Introduction to Street Outreach

Don’t sweat it if this feels overwhelming at first…And we find that the experience itself often serves as its own inspiration.

Quick Tips:

  • Remember that your help may literally save lives
  • The act of going out and doing this may give you inspiration

 


Going in Groups: Introduction to Street Outreach

Go in groups, cover more ground, and learn along the way

Quick Tips:

  • Groups can share responsibilities and cover more ground
  • Split into pairs so not to overwhelm anyone
  • Working with others helps build confidence and knowledge
  • Practice together, share the experience, learn from one another

 


The Approach: Introduction to Street Outreach

How to break the ice and where to go from there

Quick Tips:

  • Respect homeless people and their personal space
  • Pay attention to social cues
  • Introduce yourself and state your purpose
  • Listen to what each individual has to say

 


Respect People’s Space: Introduction to Street Outreach

Respecting personal space is important for both your safety and theirs

Quick Tips:

  • Respect boundaries — keep a 6 foot distance
  • When possible, maintain the same eye level
  • Don’t worry, but remain aware and calm
  • Keep everyone’s safety in mind

 


Dressing comfortably (and not over-dressed) makes all the difference: Introduction to Street Outreach

Dressing comfortably and intentionally makes all the difference

Quick Tips:

  • Dress casually and comfortably (esp. shoes)
  • Don’t be afraid to get dirty
  • Remember to smile

 


Street Outreach and the Pandemic: CDC Guidelines

If the individuals you are interacting with during outreach are amenable, please offer to share with them the following tips to help protect them from COVID-19. Simple preventative measures like hand washing might be nearly impossible for homeless people at this time, so your help is crucial. These tips are also helpful for you to remember, to keep yourself safe.

  • Clean hands
  • Masks
  • Social distancing
  • Clean surfaces
  • Symptoms

 


Street Safety

Children and Street Outreach: Street Safety

There are many ways to involve young children

Quick Tips:

  • It is not recommended to bring children under 14.
  • Children under 14 can still prepare items or make art to donate.
  • Once ready, you can slowly start to include them when volunteering.

 


Safety in Numbers: Street Safety

Bring a friend to back you up

Quick Tips:

  • Before volunteering, ensure your safety by going with another person
  • Volunteer with a friend, family member, or acquaintance
  • Don’t have more than 2 volunteers approach a single homeless individual

 


Tell People Where You Are Going: Street Safety

Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back

Quick Tips:

  • Let someone know where you’re going and how long you will be gone.
  • Telling them increases your safety and can attract them to volunteer.
  • Inform your contact when you’re back at home.

 


Carry an ID, a Charged Phone, Water, and Food: Street Safety

Be prepared and bring these essentials

Quick Tips:

  • We strongly suggest you carry an ID, plus “Street Care” info and emergency contact info.
  • Have the “Street Care” app downloaded — and your phone charged!
  • If a police officer questions you, show them your ID and Street Care information.

 


Avoid Carrying a lot of Money: Street Safety

Don’t bring too many valuables and keep them in your front pockets

Quick Tips:

  • Carry a little money, such as $10.
  • Always carry belongings in your front pockets.
  • Keep your purse or bag in front of you.

 


Asking for Directions: Street Safety

There are a few options to safely ask for directions

Quick Tips:

  • If you lose your way, it’s okay to ask an approachable-looking person for directions.
  • You can use the opportunity to inform another person about street outreach.
  • If in doubt, look for a nearby store to ask for directions.

 


Be Aware of your Surroundings: Street Safety

Stay safe by staying alert

Quick Tips:

  • Pay attention to your surroundings anytime you’re outside.
  • Check in with your partners to make sure you all feel comfortable and are in the safest place possible.
  • It’s great to focus phone use on using our app.

 


Trust Your Instincts: Street Safety

Be confident and trust your gut feeling

Quick Tips:

  • If a situation gives you a bad feeling, trust your instincts and walk away
  • It’s okay to take a break and regroup or call it a day if you feel unsettled

 


Carefully and Alertly 9: Street Safety 

Being alert and mindful helps to insure safe interactions 

Quick Tips:

  • Don’t stare, but awareness is important. Be vigilant and careful
  • Homeless person are vulnerable even in the best situation
  • It would be extremely unlikely that someone would be dangerous

 


Homelessness & Mental Illness

Introduction: Homelessness and Mental Illness

An introduction to engaging people showing signs of mental illness

Quick Tips:

  • Those with mental illness or mental disabilities don’t always show signs
  • Don’t give up, even though sometimes it can be difficult
  • Keep safety a priority, for yourself and those you’re speaking with

 


Don’t Make Assumptions: Homelessness and Mental Illness

How to keep an open mind and work against biases

Quick Tips:

  • Consider the individual and their situation, don’t just assume
  • Signs and symptoms can manifest differently and won’t always look the same
  • Be mindful and respectful at all times

 


Possible Signs of Mental Illness: Homelessness and Mental Illness

These indicators can guide the direction of your interaction.

Possible signs include:

  • Difficulty communicating
  • Talking to themselves in some form
  • Withdrawn or shut down
  • It is still possible to safely continue interacting with the person

 


How to Approach Someone Displaying Signs of Mental Illness: Homelessness and Mental Illness

Introduce yourself, smile, and keep it simple

Quick Tips:

  • Smile, introduce yourself, but keep it simple
  • Show the item you’re sharing as you mention them, to form a visual connection
  • Respect boundaries and keep a safe distance

 


Compliment and Connect With Someone Displaying Signs of Mental Illness: Homelessness and Mental Illness

Making connections can be easy if you engage with kindness

Quick Tips:

  • Be kind and make sure the person is at ease with the conversation
  • Using compliments may help if the situation allows
  • Give the person time to respond and listen what they have to say

 


What to do if Communication is Difficult: Homelessness and Mental Illness

Stay positive but don’t force an interaction

Quick Tips:

  • Not everyone will want a care bag and that is okay
  • If appropriate, you may leave a care bag a few feet away, but don’t force it on them
  • Stay positive, take a break if you have to
  • Remember: you are doing what you can and that is great

 


Homeless Veterans

Importance of Helping Veterans: Homeless Veterans

We strive to help homeless veterans

Quick Tips:

  • Homeless veterans are one of the groups we strive most to help
  • Many veterans develop PTSD, fear or anxiety
  • They can use our help to transition effectively post-service

 


What to Keep in Mind: Homeless Veterans

Listen attentively with kindness, respect and empathy

Quick Tips:

  • Keep in mind unique circumstances veterans go through (PTSD, losing loved ones, etc.)
  • Approach with kindness, respect and empathy
  • Be thoughtful and listen attentively

 


Health & Wellness Tips

Pandemic Safety: Health & Wellness Tips

Use and share these tips to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19

Quick Tips:

  1. Clean hands
  2. Masks
  3. Maintain 6 feet of distance
  4. Clean surfaces
  5. Watch for symptoms

 


De-stress & Energize: Health & Wellness Tips

Simple ways to reduce stress and energize the body

Quick Tips:

  • Flex and release hands to de-stress and energize
  • Shake out tension through hands and upper body
  • Breathe slowly to calm things

 


Wellness Tip Awareness Breathing: Health & Wellness Tips

Awareness of the breath in the body

Quick Tips:

  • Put our hands on our chest
  • Let breath come into the chest
  • Breathing in, then and release on the out breath
  • Just like the sea coming in and out

 


Wellness Tip Relaxation Breathing: Health & Wellness Tips

Relax by connecting with your breath

Quick Tips:

  • As we breathe in notice how the breath is short or low
  • As we breathe out notice how the breath is short or low
  • Maybe your notice if it is smooth or rough or shallow

 


Fast/Free Ways To Help

Help On Your Daily Commute: Fast/Free Ways to Help

Daily commute, lunch breaks, and brief outings can be great times to connect with local homeless individuals

Quick Tips:

  • You may see some of the same people again and again
  • Taking time to learn more about these individuals is a great way to help them get off the street
  • Carrying simple care kit and wellness tips in your backpack is a way to help homeless people

 


Help For Cheap Or Free