The national week of awareness is designed to educate the public, draw attention to the problem of poverty, and build up a base of supporters.
From November 12 through November 18, 2023, Oliver Gospel will recognize Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week to uplift those experiencing hunger and homelessness throughout the Midlands.
Since 1888, Oliver Gospel has strived to care for and guide those in need from desperation to transformation. By providing meals, shelter, counseling, job-placement training, recovery services, and more, our Mission seeks to meet an individuals holistic needs and offer long-term solutions.
Homelessness is a pressing issue sweeping across our community, state, country, and world. Here are the numbers in our area:
Homelessness in the Midlands and South Carolina
Over 103,000 individuals are living in poverty in Richland and Lexington Counties (source: US Census Bureau)
Over 3,600 individuals experience literal homelessness on a single night in South Carolina (source: South Carolina Interagency Council on Homelessness)
52% of individuals experiencing homelessness in South Carolina reported receiving consistent income (source: South Carolina Interagency Council on Homelessness)
1 in 5 individuals experiencing homelessness in South Carolina have been homeless for over 12 months and suffer from a disability (source: South Carolina Interagency Council on Homelessness)
Depending on where you live, the chances of seeing an individual experiencing homelessness when you go out of your house are high, especially in the Midlands.
If you are approached by or encounter an individual experiencing homelessness, consider these tips and practices for having safe, positive, and encouraging interactions.
Make A Difference Through Your Actions
Show Respect: homelessness is stressful. By showing that you care, you decrease the likelihood of aggression and establish yourself as a trustworthy figure. Small actions, like looking the individual in the eye, go a long way.
Show Empathy: recognize that people experiencing homelessness are not all the same. There are endless causes of homelessness, many come from traumatic backgrounds, and real solutions are often time consuming and difficult. Listen to what they have to say, and give a respectful reply.
Refer To The Experts: Oliver Gospel and other agencies in our city are equipped to meet the most critical needs of our homeless community. There, trained staff can identify the best course of action to get them off the streets for good. We do not recommend directly giving an individual money. Rather, encourage them to pursue resources at the nearest homeless shelter.
Volunteer: not only are you supporting the work of the organization, volunteering allows you to get to know the people in need. Understanding where people come from is key to helping others in our community. Many individuals experiencing homelessness love interacting with our volunteers because it is some of the only interaction they have during the week.
Caring for those experiencing homelessness takes a coordinated network of organizations working together. Click here to view Oliver Gospel's referral list for other resources available in South Carolina.
Our organization could not perform the work it does without the help of our supportive community. Your donation today sustains long-term, transformational care for each guest who walks though our doors.