In July, the Boulder Reporting Lab discovered that approximately 800 people in Boulder are houseless – the highest since 2017. This point-in-time count gives us a more transparent snapshot of how many people need services, support and safe housing. Here are a few ways to assist Boulder’s houseless population and the organizations that support them.
Donating money to established organizations that work with houseless individuals can provide resources for shelter, food, medical care, and other essential services. This takes the burden off individuals to find care and safety and enables nonprofits to serve more significant swaths of people, thus making a greater impact.
The Boulder Bridge House runs multiple programs that feed and employ people without homes. TGTHR (formerly Attention Homes) has a wishlist that asks for various goods it needs to run its projects and programs. Check out its list of essential items here.
It’s no secret that it takes a village to raise children, cultivate healthy habits, and ensure the well-being and safety of all its members. By volunteering your time to any of Boulder’s houseless-focused organizations, you’re investing in the betterment of our shared community and the well-being of its human occupants. Prepare and serve meals with the Boulder Shelter or volunteer with Harvest of Hope Pantry. Both of these local organizations feed everyone who comes in through their doors.
Have a skill set that could benefit the houseless population on a more long-term trajectory? Contact any local organizations to see if they need help with grant writing, marketing, legal work, human resources, and more.
Take your impact a step further and raise awareness for this crisis in Boulder County and beyond. Use your personal platform, professional network, and community to share information about Boulder’s houseless population and organizations that are actively fighting against this struggle.
Advocate for policies that address the root causes of homelessness, such as affordable housing, mental health services, and addiction treatment programs. Write to your local congressperson or organize an event that is educational in nature. Contact Boulder County’s Homeless Outreach Team to learn more about how you can be an ally of people experiencing homelessness in Boulder.
Support organizations that offer skills training and job placement programs for houseless individuals, like the Boulder Shelter. If you own your own business and need employees, consider hiring houseless individuals or working with other nonprofits that seek to place houseless people in local jobs.
Determine which piece of this issue resonates with you, your time and your skill sets. Mobilize the people in your community to address that specific problem. Organize a fundraiser, like a walk or party, that educates people on the houseless crisis in Boulder and welcomes houseless folks to share their stories and experiences.
Create a bi-weekly event where you and your community gather to make needs-based handouts, like cold-weather kits with knit caps, a thermos, hand warmers, and wool socks. Put together women’s health-care kits with sanitary products, multivitamins, chapstick, facewash, etc. Organize a sleeping bag drive and mobilize a team to hand these out on the colder nights.
The current economic system in our country isn’t structured to support individuals from all walks of life. Unfortunately, people fall through the cracks and are left to their own devices to pull themselves out. Many houseless individuals in Boulder experience mental health problems, substance abuse disorders, PTSD, and more. Sometimes, people just get into a bad situation and need immediate help that day, such as a hot meal or a tank full of gas.
It isn’t always up to us – people not currently experiencing homelessness – to determine how a person dealing with the instability and insecurity that this challenge creates needs to be helped. We can begin by listening, interacting, and connecting from a place of empathy and compassion rather than judgment.
Remember that sustained efforts can create a more significant impact. If you feel passionate about helping Boulder’s houseless population, consider committing a chunk of time to work with an organization or your own network to create positive change for our neighbors without homes.