If you’re wondering how to help people living on the street this winter, and with the holidays maybe still fresh in your memory, here are some thoughts we’ve collected on what would be the most helpful:

Donations can be dropped off at the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center at 165 Capp St. If you have items to drop off at the center, please email Vero Majano at veronicamajano@mnhc.org.

“Just think of how you would keep yourself warm, or whatever’s important to you during the holidays,” Majano said.

The Navigation Center at 1950 Mission Street is also accepting donations, which can be brought to the front door.

If you want to donate directly to the homeless, these are the things mentioned in a video we produced on this question last year:

  • socks
  • baby wipes
  • shower shoes
  • blankets
  • batteries
  • toilet paper
  • body wash
  • jackets
  • tents
  • propane (small green Coleman tanks)
  • sleeping bags

And here is a list of 10 things to do when you encounter someone unsheltered, from the Coalition on Homelessness:

  1. Introduce yourself.
  2. Be a good neighbor: Offer cash, a sandwich or a new pair of socks, if it seems like these are useful.
  3. If the person is in immediate psychiatric crisis, check in with them before calling the Mobile Crisis hotline: (415) 970-4000.
  4. If the person requests medical help or is unconscious, call 911. Make it clear that this is a medical and not a police emergency.
  5. If the person is medically compromised but not in need of an ambulance, call the HOT team at 415-355-7445
  6. Learn about homeless services in your area. Support their work by volunteering time or by donating money. Find out how you can get involved with the Coalition on Homelessness at cohsf.org.
  7. Call your Supervisor and the Mayorʼs Office and pressure them to double the number of homeless units in their affordable housing pipeline.
  8. If your neighborhood is short on public restrooms (and it is), call DPW and pressure them to put in “Pit Stops.”
  9. Organize your neighbors and invite a speaker to talk about real solutions to homelessness, and how San Francisco could do better. The Coalition can help.
  10. Educate yourself! Read the Street Sheet and make sure you know the basic facts: There are not enough shelter beds, most homeless people were San Franciscans before they were homeless San Franciscans, and the reason we have mass homelessness is that the federal government gutted housing budgets for poor people!

Thing Not to Do:

  1. Do not call the police. NEVER call the police on people who arenʼt threats. Thousands of homeless people end up cited and often incarcerated every year for no offense greater than sleeping, and several homeless people have been murdered by police in the last few years. Police contact can actually prolong a personʼs homelessness.