- First and foremost, it is important to treat the individuals struggling with homelessness as people. Of course, this is already in your heart and your mind, but a good piece of advice is to be aware of your body language when you meet someone. Look each person in the eye and be mindful of not cringing, if they reach out a hand or accidentally graze your sleeve. No matter the struggle a person may go through, they are, before, during, and after their homelessness, just another human being on this planet, worthy of interaction.
- Go ahead and start a normal conversation. You may ask them about their story, but be prepared if they don’t want to share details with a stranger. Ask them where they are from originally or, if they indicate they are a veteran, thank them for their service. You don’t have to enter into a long conversation but a small exchange may brighten their day and yours.
- Be respectful of boundaries and respect private space and belongings. The same rules apply as to any stranger you meet on the street, or how you would want to be treated. Like Dr. Woody said “they are people not pigeons”.
- Don’t give money. You will get asked for money but don’t in any circumstances give your money. Instead ask them if they’ve been to the bridge. The truth is our resources go further in the hands of The Bridge. Ten dollars for example will provide someone with three balanced and nutritious meals.