Although it’s not always top of mind, homelessness is everywhere. On my morning run, I pass the man singing My Girl. On my way out the door, I see the woman selling newspapers outside the grocery store and then the man who sits just outside of the train station every morning, wishing everyone who passes by a wonderful day. That’s already three people affected by homelessness and I’ve only gone a few blocks from my apartment.
Volunteering is a passion of mine but what can I possibly do for someone living on the street? Lucky for me, I work at one of the greatest companies; Apartments.com. From helping families in need through the Ellen DeGeneres Show, to the Campaign to Help End Homelessness, I’m thankful to work for a company that gives back and really cares. You can join us in the fight against homelessness. Here are some ways you can replicate the efforts and make a difference in your community:
1.) Organize a day of service at a local homeless shelter. Nothing says “community involvement” like getting two communities to work together! Put a notice in your residents’ mailboxes and encourage them and their friends to help for one day. For a list of shelters in your area, visit http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/.
2.) Give renters the option to donate a dollar amount to a local shelter via their rent check. On your rent statements, add check boxes for $1, $5, $10 or other. You’ll never know how generous your residents can be!
3.) Host a resident party or movie night and “charge” everyone a donation of a canned good for admission.
4.) Organize a food drive or essentials donation for a local shelter. You can make it as simple as having a large drop box by the main entrance of the community. You can also add a personal touch by visiting each apartment home and slipping a paper bag under the front door. Include a note asking renters to fill the bag with canned goods, hygiene items (toothpaste, shaving items, soap) or paper products (paper towels, napkins, toilet paper) and deliver to the leasing office by a specific date. Any amount helps!
5.) Make a donation on your residents’ behalf. November will be over before we know it, but that doesn’t mean the holiday season is over! As a holiday gift to your residents, make a community donation to a local shelter or charity on their behalf. Let them know by sending each resident a personalized holiday card with the shelter or charity information and how your community donation can make a difference.
6.) Like Apartments.com on Facebook! Through December, Apartments.com is taking action with a Campaign to Help End Homelessness and renters across the country are helping. In an effort to raise up to $25,000, we will donate $1 for every new Like on our Facebook page to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Spread the word and ask your residents to do the same!
At the end of the day, we can all make a difference. Not just around Thanksgiving, but always. Now is just a great time to start.