How can I get my organization listed on the Help Card app?
Click the Feedback/Survey link at the bottom of the screen and select “yes” to the question “Is your organization/program not listed on the Help Card but you would like it to be?” You will then be prompted to provide information about your organization (address, phone number, services, etc). The Coalition for the Homeless will review your submission and add your organization to the Help Card.
How else can I volunteer?
Through the Coalition for the Homeless: The Coalition accepts general volunteers for projects, and community volunteers for major events such as the Houston Homeless Count conducted in January each year. To view a list of organizations partnering with The Way Home, click here.
I’ve seen the same man out on the streets for days, how can I help?
If you see someone out on the streets continually and believe that they need help, please feel free to contact one of the outreach teams listed below. These outreach teams are comprised of homeless service provider staff members and have specialized training on interacting with homeless individuals, particularly homeless individuals who may be suffering from mental illness, substance abuse, and other disabilities.
SEARCH (Click on the Clothing button below)
(8:00 am – 4:00 pm, Mon-Fri)
(8:00 am – 9:00 pm, 7 days per week)
(Youth ages 18-24, 7:00 am – 9:00 pm, Mon-Fri)
(Veterans, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week)
What happened to the paper Helpcard? How can I print information?
Although the PDF form of the Helpcard no longer exists, the Coalition for the Homeless has created a Street Guide document that can be used as a handout for homeless individuals. The Street Guide focuses on the issue of shelter and provides a map and contact information for local organizations who address this issue. [Please click here for the printable Street Guide]. We realize that it is also helpful to have a printable list of resources to physically give to homeless individuals, and have recently added a solution for that. You can now print tables of desired resources by service provided by clicking “Print view (table) of this section” at the top of any of the individual sections (Clothing, Shelters, etc.). These printable documents are directly linked to the information online and hence will change as information is updated, added, or removed.
What is the Help Card app?
The Help Card app is based on the original concept from medical, social work, and pharmacy students (M.C. Lu, A. Hazra, A. Melillo) who volunteered at HOMES Clinic in 1999. These students found themselves continuously searching for the same resource information over and over with different patients in similar situations. They decided to start compiling information on those frequently-used resources and eventually published their work in 2002 under the guidance of Dr. David Buck and Dr. Dana Clark, titled “Blueprints: A Collection of Health Care, Housing & Social Resources Available to Houston’s Homeless.” The publication doubled as a fundraiser for HOMES Clinic as students sold copies of the resource book to fellow students and health professionals. Healthcare for the Homeless Houston (HHH), the parent organization of HOMES Clinic, then took over the project and converted it into a “services card” which was maintained and updated by an HHH case manager, Sharon Epstein. Dr. Buck, the founder of HOMES Clinic and president and founder of HHH, then passed the “services card” project on to the Coalition for the Homeless to maintain, due to their connections and knowledge of resources available to the homeless population. The Coalition then transformed the project into what is known as the Help Card, designed as a single page front-and-back sheet with contact information for organizations providing various services for the homeless community. The difficulty with all of these iterations of the project is that these organizations and resources are frequently changing so information quickly becomes outdated. With the integration of technology into our everyday lives, we thought it best to create a digital replica of the Help Card in order to expand the volume of information included and streamline the process of keeping all information up to date. This has been a collaboration between the Coalition for the Homeless and UT Houston Medical School student Camille Keenan as part of her 2014 Houston-Galveston Albert Schweitzer Fellowship project. For information on the Albert-Schweitzer Fellowship please visit their website. We realize that many homeless individuals do not have access to the internet, but we hope that this resource will also be used by case managers, social workers, community members, non-profit employees and anyone else who comes into contact with homeless individuals to provide them with more up-to-date and individualized information. After talking with individuals and establishing their needs, specific resources that match their situation can be found on the Helpcard and printed for the homeless individual to pursue. The Help Card is only one of the ways in which the Coalition for the Homeless is making a difference for the homeless population of Houston. For more information on the Coalition visit their website.
What is the best thing to do for a homeless individual on the street?
You can keep water bottles, snacks, and/or hygiene items (travel-sized soaps, chapstick, lotion, etc.) in your car to hand out, along with a Help Card that can direct them to an agency that provides the services they need.
What triggers homelessness?
While circumstances vary, more than 50% say that their homelessness was triggered by an economic factor. 35% of people surveyed cited loss of job as the cause of their homelessness, and 15% of people reported that their bills were higher than their earnings. Another major factor is a lack of affordable housing in the United States contributes to the inability to acquire or maintain housing, particularly in urban areas where homelessness is more prevalent (Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness). A variety of additional factors can contribute to the problem: chief among these are poverty, a decline in levels of public assistance, lack of affordable health care, mental illness, and addictive disorders. Visit the Coalition for the Homeless website for more information.