13 Best Charities for Helping Homeless People (Complete 2024 List)

13 Best Charities for Helping Homeless People (Complete 2024 List)

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Individuals and families can become homeless due to natural disasters, conflict, and poverty. Over 1.6 billion people worldwide lack adequate housing, with 15 million forcibly evicted annually. Fortunately, many nonprofit organizations are tackling the homelessness crisis worldwide. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for helping homeless people?

The best charities for helping homeless people are Family Promise and the Coalition for the Homeless. Charities like Covenant House, StandUp for Kids, and the U.S. Veterans Initiative provide safe, stable temporary and permanent housing to homeless people, including children and veterans.

Whether you want to provide free meals to homeless people, ensure homeless people have access to affordable housing, or help homeless people access employment opportunities, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about the best charities for helping homeless people, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for Helping Homeless People Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact, transparency ratings, and achievements.

They provide various housing options, such as temporary housing, eviction prevention programs, and affordable housing to help homeless people.

Many nonprofit organizations offer housing and support services to individuals, at-risk children, and youth. Others provide safe and affordable homes to veterans, pregnant women, and new moms experiencing homelessness.

Yet, they all share the same goal of ending homelessness.

These Are the 13 Best Charities for Helping Homeless People in 2024

Below are our favorite charities for helping homeless people (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

    (At the end of this article, we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

    1

    Family Promise: Building Communities. Strengthening Lives

    Family Promise was founded in 1988 by Karen Olson to provide hospitality to homeless families. Today, the charity is a national network working to eradicate homelessness and promote the economic stability of low-income families.

    Family Promise: Combatting Family Homelessness

    🔎

    Their transparency & ratings:

    Family Promise has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

    “Our mission is to help families experiencing homelessness and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response.”

    Family Promise

    ⚒️

    What they do:

    Family Promise offers various services to support homeless families in the US. For example, they provide emergency housing solutions to help homeless families feel safe and supported until they find permanent housing. They also support families at risk of homelessness by paying rent in arrears, security deposits, and mediating between landlords and tenants. In addition, they offer stabilization programs such as tenancy training, educational initiatives, and technology support to help families maintain their housing.

    🚀

    What they’ve achieved:

    Since their founding, Family Promise has provided housing support to over 1 million family members in 200 communities through their network of 200,000 volunteers across 43 states. They offer temporary housing, meals, and services to over 125,000 individuals annually. 62% of the families they served in their shelters secured permanent housing, 7% secured transitional housing, and 12% secured shared housing.

    Ways to contribute:

    You can donate directly to Family Promise through their website. You can also support them by becoming a volunteer or partner. In addition, you can create a fundraiser for them.

    2

    Coalition for the Homeless: Housing Is a Human Right

    The Coalition for the Homeless was founded in 1981 by Ellen Baxter and Kim Hopper to give impoverished people access to adequate shelter. Today, the charity provides affordable housing and lifesaving services to homeless people in New York.

    Coalition for the Homeless - the 16,000

    🔎

    Their transparency & ratings:

    The Coalition for the Homeless has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

    “We believe that affordable housing, sufficient food, and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society.”

    Coalition for the Homeless

    ⚒️

    What they do:

    The Coalition for the Homeless offers housing programs to individuals and families in New York to give them permanent housing stability. For example, their Bridge Building Program provides affordable apartments to homeless people. In addition, their Scattered Site Housing Program provides homeless people living with HIV/AIDS with permanent housing. Through their Grand Central Food Program, they also deliver healthy meals and warm clothing to homeless New Yorkers. In addition, they operate a Client Advocacy Program that helps disabled adults to find permanent supportive housing. Furthermore, they run Camp Homeward Bound to provide homeless children respite from the discomfort of the shelter system in the summer.

    🚀

    What they’ve achieved:

    Since their founding, the Coalition for the Homeless has supported people suffering in extreme poverty, including homeless people. For example, in 2022, their Grand Central Food Program provided 354,000 meals to homeless people at 25 locations in New York. Their eviction prevention program also saved 613 families from becoming homeless by providing one-time rental arrears grants. Furthermore, they housed 222 homeless children at Camp Homeward Bound in the summer. They also provided stable, permanent housing to 169 residents. In addition, they helped 62 chronically homeless individuals with physical or mental disabilities to secure government benefits and obtain supportive housing. 

    Ways to contribute:

    You can donate directly to the Coalition for the Homeless through their website. You can also support them by volunteering or participating in their Back to School project.

    3

    Covenant House: Providing Shelter for Youth Facing Homelessness

    Covenant House was founded in 1972 by Father Bruce Ritter to protect runaway, homeless, and exploited youth. Today, they are a global charity that supports young people experiencing homelessness to become independent and achieve their goals.

    Youth Homelessness: Journey to Wholeness and Independence

    🔎

    Their transparency & ratings:

    Covenant House has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

    “We are committed to providing unconditional love, absolute respect, and relentless support for each young person who walks through our doors.”

    Covenant House

    ⚒️

    What they do:

    Covenant House meets immediate needs for food, shelter, and medical and mental health care to support youth experiencing homelessness worldwide. They do this by organizing street and van outreach programs that offer food, hygiene products, and warm clothing to homeless youth. They also run crisis centers that offer temporary shelter and essential items, including emergency medical care and hot meals, to homeless kids. In addition, they provide long-term support, including educational programs, job training and placement, and transitional housing. They also advocate for foster care reform and the abolishment of the trafficking of minors.

    🚀

    What they’ve achieved:

    Since their founding, Covenant House has supported over 1.5 million youth experiencing homelessness and trafficking. They provide shelter to over 2,000 young people in 34 cities across 6 countries. For example, in 2022, they provided homeless youth with 1.6 million meals and 730,000 nights of housing. They also conducted 29,000 on-site medical visits and reached 7,700 youth through their residential programs. In addition, they assisted 3,700 young people through their street outreach programs. They also provided a bed to over 2,000 homeless youth every night.

    Ways to contribute:

    You can donate directly to Covenant House through their website. You can also assist the charity by starting a fundraiser.

    4

    StandUp for Kids: Helping Homeless and Street Kids

    StandUp for Kids was founded in 1990 by Richard L. Koca to provide life-saving services to youth at risk of homelessness. Today, they are a national charity supporting at-risk and homeless youth in local communities.

    StandUp for Kids 2021 Promotional Video

    🔎

    Their transparency & ratings:

    StandUp for Kids has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

    “We want to end the cycle of youth homelessness”

    StandUp for Kids

    ⚒️

    What they do:

    StandUp for Kids supports homeless and at-risk youth, including young parents and their children, until their 25th birthday. They do this through street outreach programs providing homeless youth with information about their housing solutions and essential items. They also offer housing, stipends, life skill training, and furnishings to empower these youth. In addition, they conduct mentoring sessions in and after school to encourage youth to stay in school and avoid crime. They also run Outreach Centers that provide safe and protective environments for homeless and at-risk youth.

    🚀

    What they’ve achieved:

    Since their inception, StandUp for Kids has supported thousands of young people in 18 cities across 11 states. For example, in 2021, they distributed 22,428 meals to homeless and at-risk youth in the US. They also recorded 13,134 incidents of support through their street and outreach centers. In addition, they provided 1,826 nights of emergency shelter. They added 1,783 youth to their outreach network and guided 1,200 youth through their mentoring and counseling sessions. Furthermore, they supported 459 young people with housing and ongoing assistance.

    Ways to contribute:

    You can donate directly to StandUp for Kids through their website. You can also support them by volunteering or starting a program in a new location. In addition, you can assist them by serving on their boards.

    5

    U.S. Veterans Initiative: Serving Those Who Served

    The U.S. Veterans Initiative (also referred to as U.S. Vets) was founded in 1993 by veterans to support homeless veterans. Today, they are a national nonprofit helping veterans and their families transition from homelessness.

    U.S.VETS On a Mission to End Veteran Homelessness

    🔎

    Their transparency & ratings:

    The U.S. Veterans Initiative has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

    “We want to contribute to the successful transition of military veterans and their families through the provision of housing, counseling, career development and comprehensive support.”

    U.S. Veterans Initiative

    ⚒️

    What they do:

    The U.S. Veterans Initiative serves veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. They do this by offering temporary and permanent housing solutions and supportive environments to help homeless veterans in the US. They also provide career counseling to help them translate their military experience into civilian employment opportunities. In addition, they run mental health and wellness programs, including Outside the Wire, to offer comprehensive mental health support services to help veterans become well-adjusted people.

    🚀

    What they’ve achieved:

    Since their establishment, the U.S. Veterans Initiative has served over 440,000 meals to homeless veterans. They have also provided nearly 400,000 nights of warm shelter at their locations. Furthermore, they have conducted 57,782 supportive counseling sessions and 3,061 permanent housing placements for homeless veterans. They continue to support 20,000 US veterans annually.

    Ways to contribute:

    You can donate to the U.S. Veterans Initiative directly on their website. You can also volunteer or hire a veteran if you are an employer.

    6

    Abode Services: Because Everyone Should Have a Home

    Abode Services was established in 1989 by a group of people to address the growing problem of homelessness in the Tri-City Area. Today, they are a national organization committed to supporting homeless people.

    Abode Services

    🔎

    Their transparency & ratings:

    Abode Services has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

    “Abode Services’ mission is to end homelessness by assisting low-income, un-housed people, including those with special needs, to secure stable, supportive housing; and to be advocates for the removal of the causes of homelessness.”

    Abode Services

    ⚒️

    What they do:

    Abode Services addresses homelessness in the US by partnering with landlords and local shelters to help people access housing opportunities. They also provide short-term rental assistance, housing placement, and supportive services to help vulnerable people, including the elderly and people exiting the criminal justice system, obtain housing quickly. In addition, they operate a homelessness-prevention program targeted at providing housing solutions to young adults exiting the foster care system. 

    🚀

    What they’ve achieved:

    Since their inception, Abode Services has continued to help homeless families find permanent housing. For example, in 2022, they spent over $41 million in rental assistance to give homeless people a safe home. They also assisted over 14,800 homeless people through their programs. Every night, their housing programs provide a safe home to 6,748 homeless and at-risk people, including over 3,000 children and 500 veterans. In addition, over 2,500 homeless people in their programs exited into permanent housing,

    Ways to contribute:

    You can donate directly to Abode Services through their website. You can also support them by volunteering at their shelter.

    7

    Chicago Coalition for the Homeless: Fighting for the Human Right to Housing

    The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless was founded in 1980 by William “Les” Brown to support vulnerable families and cater to their housing needs. Today, they continue to advocate for public policies to end homelessness and support homeless people.

    About Us: Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

    🔎

    Their transparency & ratings:

    The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

    “We organize and advocate to prevent and end homelessness, because we believe housing is a human right in a just society.”

    Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

    ⚒️

    What they do:

    The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless offers outreach programs to educate homeless people on the housing options available, such as Medicaid and free transportation services to and from school for vulnerable children. They also train those interested in becoming community leaders to speak at schools and religious groups about their experiences. In addition, the charity advocates for the creation of public policies that support affordable housing and shelter preservation for the homeless. They also provide free legal aid services to families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

    🚀

    What they’ve achieved:

    Since their founding, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has used community organizing, advocacy, and legal aid to push for measures that help homeless families. For instance, as a result of their advocacy for Homeless Prevention Grants in Illinois, the state now supports 118,023 homeless families. Also, further advocacy efforts in Illinois resulted in a significant increase of $4.1 million in prevention funding within one year. In addition, their legal aid program provided free legal aid to 830 students and youth and 80 homeless people.

    Ways to contribute:

    You can donate directly to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless through their website. You can also support the charity by joining their Justice Circle.

    8

    DePaul USA: Homelessness Has No Place

    DePaul USA was founded in 2009 as an affiliate of the DePaul International Group to end homelessness and help those affected by it. Today, they operate numerous housing and support programs to help homeless people in the US. 

    Depaul USA "Feels Like Home" Online Event

    🔎

    Their transparency & ratings:

    DePaul USA has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

    “We help individuals who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged.”

    DePaul USA

    ⚒️

    What they do:

    DePaul USA operates permanent housing, temporary housing, and affordable housing programs for homeless people. For example, they provide houses and apartments below-market rents for low-income or disabled men and women. They also run a free medical clinic to provide homeless people with access to healthcare. In addition, their DAX program offers housing opportunities, stipends, transportation, and educational support to college students experiencing homelessness. 

    🚀

    What they’ve achieved:

    Since their founding, DePaul USA has remained committed to eliminating homelessness in the US. For example, in 2018, they provided 418 homeless people with housing. They also provided free healthcare services to 3,971 people, including homeless families. In addition, their emergency services resource centers helped over 100 people transition into permanent housing and provided nearly 70,000 meals and 20,000 hygiene services to homeless people.

    Ways to contribute:

    You can donate directly to DePaul USA through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering or partnering with them to end homelessness.

    9

    Building Changes: Preventing Homelessness

    Building Changes was founded in 1993 to address homelessness in Washington and provide support to homeless families, children, and youth. Today, the charity provides homeless people, including college students, with safe and stable housing.

    Building Changes: Preventing Homelessness

    🔎

    Their transparency & ratings:

    Building Changes has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

    “Building Changes advances equitable responses to homelessness in Washington State, with a focus on children, youth, and families and the systems that serve them.”

    Building Changes

    ⚒️

    What they do:

    Building Changes influences policies and advocates for adequate homeless and housing supportive systems in Washington. For example, through their Washington Youth and Families Fund, they support programs that improve housing stability for homeless people and help them recover from the trauma caused by homelessness. They also provide training and education to schools, housing providers, and communities to create resources that address the unique needs of students experiencing homelessness in Washington.

    🚀

    What they’ve achieved:

    Since their founding, Building Changes has remained dedicated to preventing homelessness in Washington. For example, they have developed research-based practices and recommendations to help schools and districts support students experiencing homelessness. They also collaborated with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to design and implement 79 high-performing homeless systems and projects totaling $29.8 million in Washington. In addition, they have awarded $62.7 million in funding to 122 grantees towards innovative housing interventions that support homeless people across 26 counties.

    Ways to contribute:

    You can donate directly to Building Changes through their website. You can also assist the charity by supporting key legislation in Washington to prevent homelessness.

    10

    Save the Family: Stable Homes. Safe Children. Strong Families.

    Save the Family was founded in 1988 to end family homelessness in Maricopa County in Arizona. Today, they continue to provide housing and supportive services to homeless and underprivileged families.

    Save The Family's Mission 2022

    🔎

    Their transparency & ratings:

    Save the Family has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

    “We work to equip families to overcome underlying issues that lead to homelessness – ensuring stable homes, safe children and strong families because of our efforts.”

    Save the Family

    ⚒️

    What they do:

    Save the Family provides housing programs and eviction prevention services to homeless families to ensure their long-term housing. They also help people achieve financial stability by providing supportive services, including budgeting classes, parenting classes, and access to in-house mental health and substance abuse support. In addition, they help children navigate the trauma caused by homelessness and support families by offering drop-in daycare, after-school programs, and summer camps annually. 

    🚀

    What they’ve achieved:

    Since their founding, Save the Family has consistently provided housing support to vulnerable families in the US. 90% of the families they have helped have obtained permanent housing. Furthermore, 91% of the families that participated in their programs obtained regular access to healthcare, and 70% of them have maintained or increased their incomes. In addition, the charity reached 640 children through their children’s services and sponsored 237 children to school.

    Ways to contribute:

    You can donate directly to Save the Family through their website. You can also support them by volunteering or starting a fundraiser.

    National Alliance to End Homelessness: Preventing and Ending Homelessness

    The National Alliance to End Homelessness was founded in 1983 by a group of concerned citizens to meet the emergency needs of homeless people in the US. Today, they are a national network working to provide more permanent housing solutions to prevent homelessness in the US.

    Solutions to Homelessness: Why Housing Matters

    🔎

    Their transparency & ratings:

    The National Alliance to End Homelessness has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

    “We use research and data to find solutions to homelessness; we work with federal and local partners to create a solid base of policy and resources that support those solutions; and then we help communities implement them.”

    National Alliance to End Homelessness

    ⚒️

    What they do:

    The National Alliance to End Homelessness promotes policy development and implementation at local, state, and federal levels to end homelessness. They also research and disseminate information about homelessness prevention measures through their Homelessness Research Institute. In addition, their Center for Capacity Building offers technical assistance and training to cities, counties, states, and other nonprofits to help them establish programs that are directed at ending homelessness.

    🚀

    What they’ve achieved:

    The National Alliance to End Homelessness has a consistent history of advocating for the rights of the homeless. For example, in 2000, they influenced the federal government and Congress in the US to adopt their strategy for ending homelessness. This action resulted in substantial policy shifts in housing provision, data collection, and systems for managing homelessness. 

    Ways to contribute:

    You can donate directly to the National Alliance to End Homelessness through their website. You can also support them by joining their campaign for a $200 million increase in funds for ending homelessness. 

    12

    Harvest Home: Where New Lives Begin

    Harvest Home was founded in 1985 to provide a safe and nurturing environment for pregnant women and their babies. Today, they continue to support pregnant women and new moms experiencing homelessness and poverty. 

    Where New Lives Begin. || Harvest Home

    🔎

    Their transparency & ratings:

    Harvest Home holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

    “We transform the lives of homeless pregnant women and their children by providing housing, support, and programs that equip women to become great mothers.”

    Harvest Home

    ⚒️

    What they do:

    Harvest Home runs a residential program serving homeless pregnant women, new moms, and their babies. They also offer parenting classes and mentoring to equip new moms to support their families. By teaching money management skills and encouraging involvement in employment and certification programs, they also help them attain financial independence. In addition, they provide free individual therapy classes to boost the mental health of expectant and new mothers.

    🚀

    What they’ve achieved:

    Since their founding, Harvest Home has assisted over 600 women to support themselves and their children. They continue to support 50 alumnae families and new moms annually to earn a living and provide for their children. Every year, their residential program houses 30 expectant and new moms and their babies and supports them in their parenting journey. Furthermore, the charity recently opened their second home program in the US to expand their capacity to serve up to 70 families and new moms.

    Ways to contribute:

    You can donate directly to Harvest Home through their website. You can also assist the charity by volunteering or donating maternity and baby items for their new moms and babies. 

    13

    Streetwise: Empowering People to Work

    Streetwise was founded in 1992 by Judd Lofchie to help homeless people earn an income by selling newspapers. Today, they provide marginalized people employment opportunities to support themselves and their families.

    StreetWise magazine celebrates 30 years in Chicago

    🔎

    Their transparency & ratings:

    Streetwise has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator

    “StreetWise exists to elevate marginalized voices and provide opportunities for individuals to earn an income with dignity. Anyone who wants to work has the opportunity to move themselves out of crisis. StreetWise provides “a hand up, not a handout.”

    Streetwise

    ⚒️

    What they do:

    Streetwise assists homeless and disabled people, veterans, and those with barriers to employment opportunities, by providing access to stable work. They do this through their STEP to Employment program, which prepares homeless people for employment through skill-building and coaching. The charity also provides them with work opportunities, such as becoming a Streetwise magazine vendor. Furthermore, they provide the vendors with training, ongoing support, and incentives to grow their own micro businesses. In addition, they support homeless people with free meals, warm clothing, and toiletries.

    🚀

    What they’ve achieved:

    When Streetwise was first established, they provided steady income for over 350 homeless people and sold more than 60,000 issues of the StreetWise magazine within their first 5 weeks. Today, they support 115 active vendors, including homeless people, selling 13,000 magazines monthly at $3.00. Each vendor takes $2.00 for every magazine they sell, plus tips to support their families.

    Ways to contribute:

    You can donate directly to Streetwise through their website. You can also support them by volunteering or providing items directly to their vendors and job seekers.

    How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

    The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for helping homeless people. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

    • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
    • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
    • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
    • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
    • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
    • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

    How Can You Best Support These Charities?

    After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

    Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

    • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
    • Buy their official merchandise. Charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
    • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
    • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
    • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

    Final Thoughts

    Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to helping homeless people – based on the causes that matter most to you.

    Stay impactful,

    PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

    The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

    Sources

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