Here are a few suggestions and ways that all of us can help. And not all require putting out money or being inconvenienced:

1. See the person, not the stereotype, and make a human connection. People who are homeless — on the street and in shelters — are human like the rest of us. They deserve that human respect no matter what their circumstances are.

2. Say hello. Smile. Many of the people living on the street long for conversation and human interaction.

3. Time and money – donate it, if you can. While some organizations and services that support homelessness receive government funding, many rely on donations or volunteers for helping those who need it most. Giving directly, or volunteering at BFTS or other homelessness services a few hours a week does help. Even small change can add up.

4. Speak out and vote for what matters to you. Addressing homelessness may seem like a political issue but ensuring everyone feels safe in our society is a basic human right.

5. If you can, buy them something to eat or drink.

The most important thing is to be kind and compassionate and treat everyone with dignity and respect.

We can do better. We must.

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