During the blizzard that recently shut down Chicago and most of the Midwest, Chicago charities were scrambling to find the city’s homeless and give them a place to stay out of the storm. Without such support, many of the homeless would probably have died in the extreme temperatures and wind. Charitable organizations like homeless shelters make it their goal to always be there for the homeless, offering them a way to get back on their feet. Here are several ways that homeless shelters all over America reach out to the homeless.
Housing and meals. The most basic level of care given at every homeless shelter is providing a bed and at least one meal for the residents. While some programs are more advanced and can involve a waiting list, plenty of homeless shelters simply open their doors on a first-come first-serve basis every day.
Reaching goals. Many homeless shelters involve some sort of structure for its residents besides curfew and mealtime, including a list of chores required of each resident in order to remain in the program, but more importantly helping residents work towards goals of employment and stability so that they can move on and get a fresh start on their life. Many shelters have the rule that residents must simply be looking for a job, not necessarily getting one.
Basic First Aid. Several homeless shelters also have a nurse on duty to look into minor cuts or scrapes, and to judge when a person needs to see a physician. The goal is to provide people with the help and care they need, and to make sure that they are in as good a health as they can be while they are staying at the shelter.
The goal of a homeless shelter is not only to provide a bed and a meal for whoever needs one, but to invest personally into the lives of these people. By giving them a place to stay, workers hope to encourage them and give them to opportunity they need to rise out of homelessness and become a confident and active member of society.