With an estimated 550,000 Americans experiencing homelessness on any given night and the COVID-19 outbreak claiming more than 132,000 lives in the US as of early July 2020, the call to protect America’s homeless population has never been greater. In this article we look at seven of America’s best charities that help people who are facing homelessness.
From helping families access healthcare, to supporting young people and helping them continue their education, these seven organizations offer support to this population, providing nutritious meals, practical advice, and safe shelter.
1. Feeding America
An estimated one in seven US citizens struggle with hunger. Feeding America provides relief through its nationwide network of foodbanks. The organization’s mission is to engage the nation and ultimately end food insecurity across America.
Founded in 1979, Feeding America has grown to become the country’s biggest domestic hunger-relief organization, establishing a network of 200 food banks across the US. With national food insecurity levels rising exponentially due to job loss in the current COVID-19 outbreak, Feeding America has helped feed 40 million at-risk Americans, including 7 million seniors and 12 million children.
2. Help USA
Help USA supports families facing homelessness. Each year, the organization serves 30,000 Americans struggling with this issue. Many of Help USA’s clients and residents have lost their income. With little in the way of savings to rely on, youths and families are increasingly turning to Help USA for support, particularly during the current COVID-19 crisis, which has caused disproportionate hardship to underserved groups.
Help USA also supports young people adapting to remote learning while their parents juggle job responsibilities and childcare. Many of the individuals served by Help USA have pre-existing conditions and disabilities, making them particularly vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19.
LifeMoves works with people experiencing homelessness, returning them to stable housing. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, the organization is dedicated to finding solutions to homelessness in local communities. In 2019 alone, LifeMoves secured stable housing for over 2,100 clients. It provided food, shelter, services, and clothing to 950 people on any given night.
With 23 service and shelter sites from San Jose to Daly City, LifeMoves supports people experiencing homelessness. It offers them temporary homes, as well as connecting them with community outreach and shelter programs to help them find stable housing and become self-sufficient in the long-term.
4. Covenant House
Through its street and van outreach programs, crisis care centers, and long-term support, Covenant House provides a comprehensive continuum of care. It not only saves young people from homelessness, it invests in their future. From the moment a child walks through the doors to the moment they leave, the organization’s staff provide them with the expert advice and support necessary to get off the streets for good. To date
Operating a network of youth shelters across 31 US cities, Covenant House offers refuge for children who are homeless or who have been trafficked or abused. It provides them with the long-term support they need to heal. The organization also operates outreach programs in Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Honduras, assisting children who have been trafficked or neglected as well as those who are at risk of poverty and violence.
5. United Way
United Way serves communities across America and worldwide. It offers hope and support to individuals facing significant difficulties, including housing challenges. United Way’s mission is to mobilize communities, improving lives and advancing the common good.
United Way has built 600 classrooms in the Philippines, distributed 50,000 mosquito nets across Uganda, and provided 8,000 people in Cincinnati, Ohio with training for in-demand jobs. United Way helps parents find work and children achieve academic success, as well as helping people of all ages to access quality, affordable health care.
6. The National Coalition for the Homeless
Through its extensive network, the National Coalition for the Homeless provides vital services to Americans experiencing homelessness. It also supports advocates, activists, and faith and community-based service providers that are committed to ending homelessness. At the same time, it meets the needs of individuals who are currently homeless to ensure that their civil rights are protected and respected.
A lack of affordable housing combined with limited scope of housing assistance programs has triggered a housing crisis in America. With homelessness and poverty inextricably linked, the National Coalition for the Homeless aims to help individuals transition back to stable housing; access healthy, nutritious food; and obtain health care and education. It also lobbies policymakers and officials at all levels to address the structural and systematic causes of homelessness.
7. National Alliance to End Homelessness
Approximately 17 out of 10,000 members of the general population are experiencing homelessness in America today. This nonpartisan organization was established to prevent and end homelessness in the US.
With COVID-19 creating significant health and economic hardships throughout America, the National Alliance to End Homelessness is concentrating efforts on protecting those most at risk. The organization provides technical training and assistance, both remotely and on-site, helping communities to implement effective strategies in order to prevent, and ultimately end, homelessness.