4 Ways Volunteering Can End Homelessness

By United Way of King County, on November 10, 2017 | In Fighting Homelessness

You’ve seen the tents. You’ve been asked if you can spare a quarter. You’ve experienced the rising cost of housing.

Homelessness is an issue in Seattle and it’s hard to know where to start. It’s National Homelessness Awareness Month, so we challenge you to do something. A great way to begin is by volunteering! Here are four ways you can use your time helping your neighbors experiencing homelessness.

1: Have you thought about wanting to volunteer, but the time you open never lines up with when there are opportunities to help? Bummer. Here are two way to volunteer when it works with your schedule:

  • Bake some very special homemade pies for Thanksgiving dinner. One way to show people experiencing homelessness that they’re cared for is through food. Everyone staying at DESC’s shelters and supportive housing sites will receive a meal for the holiday. Bake a pie and make someone’s holiday extra sweet this year.
  • Provide translation help for West Seattle Helpline. Do you have written fluency in Somali, Vietnamese, Arabic, Khmar or Spanish? Imagine trying to navigate around Seattle, much less live on the streets, if English wasn’t your first language. You could help make sure everyone can access the services they need by translating and interpreting printed forms, materials and messages.Volunteers and Burmese refugees working at laptop computers together.

2: Put your skills to work. Volunteer your time and talents for good and make magic happen:

3: Volunteer to host a drive at your work, in your apartment building, amongst your neighbors or rally a group of friends together. These are easier than you think to pull off, and everyone will LOVE you for organizing it.

  • Host a toy drive so the YWCA can create a toy shop for families who don’t get “adopted” during the holidays. The toy shop is open to families and case workers to shop for their kids so a huge variety of items are needed.
  • Create gift bags for women who are ready to leave the streets and move forward as part of YWCA Angeline’s Enhanced Night Program.
  • Gather basic survival supplies for youth experience homelessness for YouthCare.

4: Spend time learning. The issue of homelessness is complex. That’s why even with so many organizations and people working to end it, the problem persists. It’s worth your time to learn more about contributing factors, challenge your assumptions, read a story about the people whose reality is sleeping outside every night and test your knowledge because…the more you know.

Don’t have the time right now to volunteer to help? Don’t sweat it. It takes all sorts of support. Instead, make a gift today to help end homelessness in King County. We promise to put it to the best use possible.


December 21, 2017

5. Bring a homeless person into your home. Learn the name of someone who is currently living outside & check on them regularly. Commit to being a friend to one homeless person. Community is the key to ending homelessness. Thank you for your work!

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