Sunday, December 19, 2010

Help if You Are On The Move, For Whatever Reason

From what I can glean from patrons at the Toledo Public Library, some homeless people are heading off to warmer climates. Can you blame them? If I had to live outside, it wouldn’t be here in our subfreezing cold. But where do you find resources to move to a strange town, and find out where you might stay, food to eat, and more? What if your move has been caused by some dislocation—fire, domestic violence, etc? Where do you get information?

The oldest organization is Travelers Aid, a string of agencies across the country whose mission is: “To advance and support a network of human service provider organizations committed to assisting individuals and families who are in transition, or crisis, and are disconnected from their support systems.” The central office doesn’t provide any direct help, but you can find their affiliates on their site.

There are several online places to look for shelter. One is to check out a locale and see if it has a 211 service—a phone service whereby if you dial 211, you find out about social services like housing and food. You can also try the Homeless Shelter Directory, which has a list of shelters that have registered with them, though it’s not exhaustive.

The Homeless Shelter Directory also has a listing for food pantries and food banks, as does this listing from Feed America. Food banks usually don’t deal directly with individuals who need help, but they can tell you who their clients are, and the Homeless Shelter Directory does have a few soup kitchens on its list. Again, if your destination city has a 211 database, use it for a more complete list.

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