7 Compassionate Organizations Helping The Homeless

Not having consistent access to shelter can be stressful, dangerous, and damaging to physical health. Because there are many different reasons why people become homeless, it's important to have several organizations working at the local level to address the needs of individuals and families. The seven groups listed here provide vital services to people struggling with homelessness and help them get back on their feet. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Groups That Offer Help To Homeless People

Organization Location
Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio Columbus, OH
Miriam's Kitchen Washington, DC
SEARCH Houston, TX
Families Forward Irvine, CA
Simpson Housing Services Minneapolis, MN
Los Angeles Family Housing Hollywood, CA

8 Great Documentaries About Homelessness

  1. If You Got It Give It (2018)
  2. Under the Bridge (2015)
  3. It Was a Wonderful Life (1993)
  4. Dark Days (2000)
  5. On the Edge of the World (2013)
  6. Sleeping Rough (2018)
  7. Down and Out in America (1986)
  8. The Dark Side of the Moon (2019)

Inside LA's Homelessness Epidemic

In Depth

Homelessness comes from many causes, including increasing rent costs, job insecurity, outstanding bills, personal trauma and hardship, and more. In 2018, 17 out of every 10,000 people in the United States were homeless, a number that grows in times of economic instability. Adults, children, families, veterans, and people with disabilities all lose their homes and find themselves isolated and without resources. However, there are organizations working hard to create safety nets and paths back to prosperity for all American people. Here, in no particular order, are seven nonprofits working to help people get back on their feet.

Starting off the list at #1 is Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, a statewide alliance of hundreds of organizations and resource service providers throughout Ohio. C.O.H.H.I.O. provides a range of assistance services, including prevention programs, emergency shelters and permanent affordable residences with supportive services. The alliance is committed to promoting safe, fair, affordable homes for all, with a focus on assisting low-income and special needs populations. Its second core focus is advocating for state and federal policies that promote affordable lodging and an end to homelessness.

Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio manages many educational programs, including research on homelessness, public education training, and technical assistance to local provider agencies and nonprofit service organizations. Other initiatives include: facilitating local efforts to combat youth displacement, protecting and promoting tenants' rights, and helping individuals who are homeless and disabled become stably housed. C.O.H.H.I.O. also runs the Ohio Housing Trust Fund, which has helped nearly one million Ohioans over the past 27 years. The coalition accepts donations, donated vehicles, and workplace giving.

Other initiatives include: facilitating local efforts to combat youth displacement, protecting and promoting tenants' rights, and helping individuals who are homeless and disabled become stably housed.

Coming in at #3 is Miriam's Kitchen. Founded in 1983 by Western Presbyterian Church, Unity Church, and the Hillel chapter at George Washington University, M.K. was originally created to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness in downtown Washington, D.C. Although the organization initially served only breakfast, it has since expanded its programs and built partnerships that bring nurses, social workers, psychiatrists, and lawyers on site. Each year, Miriam's Kitchen serves over 85,000 meals, connects more than five thousand people to social services, and reduces food costs to less than 50 cents per plate.

Miriam's Kitchen offers a wide range of services to those in need, including: direct services that help its guests increase their income, improve their health, and obtain housing; and a therapeutic space where guests can create art in a variety of media with the guidance of an art therapist. Additionally, its Street Outreach Program goes out to find and bring people back onto the path towards stable homes as quickly as possible. M.K.'s advocacy work advances city-wide resources and solutions to ensure that instances of homelessness are rare, brief and non-recurring. M.K. welcomes donations and volunteers, and encourages residents to pledge to end homelessness in D.C.

At #4 is Search, a regional Houston homeless agency that helps people break free from the cycle of poverty and displacement. The organization focuses on facilitating behavioral change, and works primarily with vulnerable families, disabled men and women, and children aged 21 months to 5 years old whose parents are working to change their futures. Search's programs help individuals obtain housing, increase their income, improve their health, and stabilize their lives. The organization also partners with shelters and other agencies to fill the gaps for struggling individuals.

The organization also partners with shelters and other agencies to fill the gaps for struggling individuals.

Search offers its clients services that engage, stabilize, house, employ, and educate. Its House of Tiny Treasures, a therapeutic day care center, was selected out of 1,500 applicants for the 2019 H.E.B. Excellence in Education Award. The organization's Mobile Outreach Team travels to provide on-the-spot assistance, assessments, intervention, and referrals to Houston's homeless. Search also participates in local and national research studies that focus on ending homelessness, and has partnerships with leading researchers at the University of Houston and University of Texas at Austin. Search welcomes donations, volunteers, and attendance at their events.

In the #5 spot is Families Forward, a nonprofit organization that is committed to helping Orange County families who are homeless or at risk of displacement. Initially established as a group of 5 rental units in 1984, F.F. now works with hundreds of families to regain economic independence and find a stable home for their children. The organization's work is upheld by two major pillars: a program that places homeless children and families into stable living situations, and community services that offer supportive assistance to improve lives. Families Forward has a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator, and devotes over 89% of its spending to its programming.

F.F. offers a number of services, including a food pantry, community counseling, career services, and tenant education workshops. The nonprofit serves and involves its entire community: approximately 6,000 people each year visit the organization's food pantry, over two thousand children each year receive special holiday gifts, and volunteers donate over twenty thousand hours of service. From 2016 through 2018, an average of 95% of the families who graduated from the organization's services did not reappear in the homeless services provider system. F.F. welcomes donations, volunteers, and landlord housing partners.

F.F. offers a number of services, including a food pantry, community counseling, career services, and tenant education workshops.

At #6 is Simpson Housing Services. Established in 1982 as an emergency overnight shelter in the basement of Simpson United Methodist Church, S.H.S. has grown to help thousands of homeless people find the assistance, shelter, and lodging they need in their times of personal crisis. The organization asserts that everybody has the right to safe and affordable homes, and commits to helping their patrons achieve housing stability. Located in the Minneapolis metro area, S.H.S. provides supportive services to an average of 100 individuals and more than 200 families, with over 500 children.

Simpson Housing Services partners with landlords and developers to find affordable homes for all families and individuals. Its projects include an emergency overnight shelter for men and women, stable and supportive residences for individuals and families, and specialized programming for children and youth designed to break the generational cycle of poverty and homelessness. It also runs short-term projects like the Navigation Center, a safe temporary shelter for the mainly Native community members who had lived outdoors at the Franklin-Hiawatha encampment. Interested supporters can donate, buy event tickets, give to their food pantry, and join their giving circle.

And finally, coming in at #7 is Los Angeles Family Housing. In 1983, an interfaith group of leaders from the San Fernando Valley noticed a rise in the number of families experiencing homelessness, and raised local aid and funds to purchase a 40-unit motel that could be transformed into a short-term shelter. Since then, L.A.F.H. has grown to become one of the largest providers of housing and homeless services in Los Angeles. It serves over 11,000 people annually and operates more than 26 properties of temporary, permanently affordable, and permanent supportive lodging.

Since then, L.A.F.H. has grown to become one of the largest providers of housing and homeless services in Los Angeles.

L.A. Family Housing's outreach and engagement process provides a program of residential placement combined with supportive services that has helped thousands of people transition out of homelessness and retain long-term housing stability. In addition to being a homeless services provider, L.A.F.H. is a real estate developer, and develops, builds, and maintains properties. The organization works to foster strong community relationships by proactively engaging with neighbors, service providers, community interest groups, and government officials. Anyone interested in helping L.A.F.H. can volunteer, advocate, donate, reach out to landlords, or host a fundraising party.