If you are asked for help by someone on the street, you should not hesitate to give them money, food, blankets, or other needed items if you have the means and the desire. We do not think there is any downside to helping people in all of these ways. But more importantly, make sure that whatever interaction you have is positive and respectful. If you cannot or do not want to give anything, you can still make eye contact, smile, and wish someone well. The key is to treat each person with the dignity and respect you would hope for if you were in that situation.
In addition to any immediate support you may decide to give, find organizations that do direct outreach to those experiencing homelessness on Chicago’s streets, provide overnight shelter, and/or permanent affordable housing and support their work. Below are some resources to research nonprofits you could support:
Nonprofits that work with the city of Chicago to address homelessness
Homeless and housing nonprofits throughout Illinois