It can be hard to know how to help those most vulnerable during the pandemic but there are lots of ways to support fellow community members struggling to meet their basic needs during this time. Here’s a list of five ideas for meaningful actions you can take to support Beaverton residents experiencing homelessness:
- Be kind: If you encounter someone who is homeless, smile and say hello. Acknowledging the person gives them dignity. Engage the person in conversation and listen to their story. This is especially meaningful in a time when stereotypes and misconceptions about homelessness are so prevalent.
- Educate yourself: There are many reasons why a person becomes homeless such as lack of affordable housing, loss of a job, illness, domestic abuse, etc. Two places to learn more locally are looking at the annual Point-in-Time Count for Washington County and reading Street Roots (or listen to their podcast!).
- Offer resources: In many cases, helping with food or clothing is better than giving money. Keep care kits with you that include socks, bottled water, snacks and/or gift cards. Have information on hand for the local winter shelter or resource line (2-1-1). Visit https:// portlandrescuemission.org/resources/ to learn how to make a care kit. Support local organizations: We are lucky to have wonderful organizations providing shelter and drop-in services to families, youth and adults in Beaverton. Just Compassion of East Washington County, Family Promise of Beaverton and HomePlate Youth Services are leading the work locally and can always use your support in the form of donations or volunteer time.
- Participate in mutual aid projects: This means community lending a hand to help solve problems for and with each other, such as combating hunger by making fresh food available in pantries or community fridges. Learn more about one grassroots model here: http://www.beavertonfoodproject.com.
- To learn more about the city’s Community Services program, visit www.BeavertonOregon.gov/communityservices.