Homeless outreach in the winter…

Christmas weekend brought some VERY heavy snow to the East Coast.  Holding up flights around the nation, making streets unable to drive on, and giving another obstacle for homeless people trying to survive the harsh cold.

Winter is tough for homeless outreach teams everywhere.  No one likes to see a man like Richie – “On a loading dock on E Street, a mound of frozen gray blankets rustled, and out from the pile rose their man, bundled in an assortment of jackets and hooded sweatshirts.” – deciding to stay on the streets of Boston despite the heavy snow fall.

Some of the homeless who won’t take blankets, gloves, sweatshirts, or shelter suffer from drug or alcohol abuse and maybe even mental illness.  Whatever the reason, no person should be without OPTIONS.  The advocates who found Richie were workers from the Pine Street Inn in Boston that began four decades ago to provide shelter for men suffering from alcoholism.

“[Jim Greene, director of Boston’s Emergency Shelter Commission] urged anyone who sees a homeless person in the cold to call 911, the quickest way to get help. Extreme weather can cause confusion and disorientation, he said. ‘Time is of the essence,’ he said.”

Although we may not be experiencing the weather of the East Coast, you can still help the homeless on the streets in Indianapolis this winter:

  • Provide coats, gloves, hats, winter gear, etc. to HealthNet’s Homeless Initiative Program (HIP)
  • Raise awareness about how to help the homeless in times of cold weather
  • Donate directly to HIP online

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