If you live in a major city, you can’t help but see the challenges that many of its residents face. Cities are often expensive spaces to live in, yet don’t always provide resources for its poorer citizens. If you have the means, you may want to help your community. But you may not be sure where your efforts will help the most. Here are some practical ways you can help the needy.
The link between education and improved financial well-being is well-known. Easy ways to help the needy locally can include donating to schools, volunteering your time to tutor disadvantaged youth, and supporting initiatives for better school funding. Helping kids stay in school can also help keep crime rates down, improve their outcomes in the job market, and help keep a community strong. Employers who see a strong school system will often be more disposed to invest in a region, making education one of the most cost-effective things you can do to fight poverty.
Support the Arts
When times are hard, artistic expression is sometimes seen as a luxury that we can do without. But the arts are important, especially for people who are having a tough time. By supporting efforts to foster the arts in disadvantaged communities, you’re building on a number of things that help those who are in poverty. The arts sometimes keep kids in school who might otherwise lose motivation. Art facilitates public spaces that bring people together and foster community. And by patronizing visual artists, musicians, and actors in local efforts, you’re stimulating the economy and providing an income to local artists who need it. It’s another great way you can help the needy in your city.
Help Provide Recreation
Recreation and sports are other keys to vibrant communities. But the cost of equipment, uniforms, and coaching put poorer youth at a disadvantage. Sponsoring sports teams, volunteering to coach, and supporting efforts to maintain and improve parks and community centers is one more effective way you can help the needy. Neill Sullivan Oakland is a great example of how a private company can partner with non-profits for the public good, by supporting a community center in West Oakland and surrounding areas.
Help Provide Healthcare
The skyrocketing cost of healthcare impacts more and more of us every day. Those who are below the poverty line are hardest hit, often lacking resources for prenatal care, well-care, and other things that we take for granted in the middle class. Poor nutrition, homelessness, and other problems related to poverty make the health care picture that much harder to improve. Organizations like the National Health Care for the Homeless Council work to break the cycle of poor healthcare outcomes and poverty. Visit their website to learn how you can help the needy get the healthcare they need.
Help Provide Housing
Homelessness is a serious issue nationwide, but especially in California. The high costs of housing and high population densities have contributed to one of the highest rates of homelessness in the nation. You can help the needy by supporting affordable housing initiatives. efforts to redevelop existing spaces, and renovation of older housing.
Gentrification is a serious issue that contributes to the problem as well. The gentrification of certain neighborhoods can be desirable for those with higher incomes, but make things tough for existing residents who can be priced out of their homes. So another way you can help the needy is by making sure your representatives in city and state governments see the need to balance economic growth and property value growth with the need to protect vulnerable residents who can’t afford rate increases.
Final Thoughts on Ways You Can Help the Needy
These five ways of helping the poorer residents of your community aren’t the only ways you can help the needy, but they do provide some great starting points. If enough of us are willing to put time and money toward solving these problems, poverty can be greatly reduced. Mahatma Gandhi once said “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” Given the strength of our economy and how fortunate most of us are, we should be able to solve these problems.