WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THE HOMELESS:
While the majority of issues on homelessness must be addressed via some level of government, health issues, jobs via businesses and or religious organizations combined with some personal responsibility there are four (4) things as an individual that you can do to address this problem.
1: Homeless Blessing Bags: Homeless Blessing Bags are a simple way that you can help with immediate needs of the homeless. They are small and portable to be easily handed out. Unlike many with housing, cars and or storage units the homeless basically have to carry everything themselves. The longer you carry something the greater the burden. Therefore you have to balance the need being helpful verses making sure doesn't go to waste before they ditch the weight or it expires. Therefore the following suggestion is made as a list for the homeless to include in the bag: Just start small with one and go from there.
2: Motels for Cold Nights: On very cold nights you can pay for one or two nights at a cheap motel for a homeless person so they are out of the cold, dry and can sleep on a real bed at night instead of sleeping bag, tent, tree and or ground.
3: Keep Cash Alive: Many homeless people along with low income people for various reasons don't have access to traditional bank accounts with checks, credit via loans/credit cards and find it hard to purchase things with cash starting to disappear combined with businesses going card only. For many when cash is no longer accepted and the economy goes completely to credit many people will have a harder time paying for things. Also the homeless will loose their ability to purchase anything due to lack of cash. Also while many argue that panhandling will drop (good thing) it will also lead to an increase in robberies and theft. To prevent a surge in the homeless population, lower low level crimes and keep the economy going keep cash alive.
4: Know/Donate/Refer to Helping Organizations in Your Area: Contrary to public opinion there are many organizations out there trying to help the homeless while combatting poverty. Instead of looking on with disgust or ignoring you can become familiar with the programs/organizations in your area. To understand what they do spend some time volunteering with them, learn about government programs and be prepared to offer referrals. Even if you don't approach directly approach the homeless due to comfort levels you can always call these organizations to alert them. While some can't do anything or are spread thin, many have emergency response teams to go looking in an area. Lastly you can also donate to these programs to help increase their resources and allow the professionals who deal with this on a daily basis to be better able to do their job.
Most cities/counties/parishes/districts/jurisdictions have abandoned property list. One thing you can do is to become of aware of this list and lobby local officials to convert these abandoned properties into transitional housing so people coming out of homelessness have a street address to obtain ID's, get a job and have a place better than the streets or a temp shelter to live.
6: ONE STOP PROCESSING CENTER: For people found to be homeless or those at risk you create a one stop shop center that has satellite offices of government agencies, some temp beds, a basic clinic, laundry facility and kennel for pets along with community classrooms for GED/Community College plus Job Corp/VO Tech reps on site along with a rotating office for job recruiters needing bodies to fill positions quickly. For people out of work, at risk and those coming out of homeless it gives them a place to go, a place for officers to drop homeless off and can also serve as a crisis response center during a crisis. Additionally this helps people achieve resources better and puts them on the path to either staying housed or avoiding homelessness.