Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.

Homeless People

If you encounter a homeless person:

  • Offer to help them find help, e.g., a homeless shelter
  • Don't give them money — they might use it to buy alcohol, and it will probably encourage them to continue begging


  1. On August 31st, 2010, Mary C. said:

    For your own safety and health reasons, never personally offer to transport a homeless person to a shelter. Local police departments usually are willing to transport a homeless person or persons in their patrol cars to a homeless shelter. However, homeless shelters require some proof of identity (Driver’s License, State ID) to protect their other residents. They also do not allow anyone visibly intoxicated or under the influence of street drugs to be admitted to a shelter. Many adult homeless people choose not carry identification with them because they have a criminal history and there may be an arrest warrant out for them. The last thing they want is any interaction with the police. Families with children are given preference to spend the night in a shelter. However, a homeless woman alone is not treated any differently than a homeless man, and either can be refused to be allowed in the shelter if the shelter is already filled to capacity. Many homeless shelters have a requirement that if you want to spend the night, you must wait in line in the afternoon when they open their doors since they can only accept a limited number of people who show up at their doors. Some cities have shelters that also have vans to pick-up a homeless person to bring them to the shelters. Be aware that most cities do open temporary emergency shelters when the outside temperature goes down to a particularly cold temperature (like 45 degrees or below) because such lower temperatures can do great harm or even cause death. Find out what homeless assistance and/or services are available in your city so you are not only better prepared to truly be “the good Samaritan” you want to be, but also to help your community to better meet the needs of those in such dire circumstances.

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