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5 ways to fight homelessness now
November 30, 2016

By Kris Berggren

1. If you have more money than time, donate to a group that’s working to end homelessness for good. It could be Beacon – we’d love your support – but you can also do your own research on the Charities Review Council website (which by the way has given us their seal of approval): www.smartgivers.com.
Level of difficulty: Don’t even have to change out of your pajamas.

 

2. If you are the hands-on type, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity or Urban HomeWorks that build or maintain homes.
Level of difficulty:  Know your way around a toolbelt? That’s great but not necessary.

 

3. If you have extra room, create a safe place for a homeless youth through a host home program such as Avenues for Youth. Hosting through a program offers structure and support as you share your home and your lives, sometimes a challenge even for those who are highly motivated.
Level of difficulty: Maybe not for beginners.

 

4. If you live in a neighborhood where affordable housing is proposed, check your first reaction if it is to worry about your property values. Realtors say that affordable housing typically does not decrease long-term nearby property values. Also: 2014 research of 8 tax-credit financed developments in the Twin Cities. Learn about the proposed housing before you say “not in my back yard.”
Level of difficulty: Gotta be honest, this one probably involves going to a meeting or two.

 

5. If you are a member of a faith community, put your values into action by joining with others to make a bigger impact. When congregations join the Beacon collaborative their members’ power is enhanced, and each congregation’s power is multiplied. Together in recent years we’ve gained millions of public dollars for 66 West, Prior Crossing and Great River Landing; opened Prior Crossing youth housing in St. Paul; and are now building our first suburban housing development. We host about 75 families a year through our Families Moving Forward shelter program. There are many ways to get involved.
Level of difficulty: Who cares? It’s empowering, and it’s the right thing to do.