Downtown Concierge

Homelessness: Helping Now


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people experiencing homelessness

You can’t look through a social media feed or newspaper without seeing something about people experiencing homelessness. It’s a problem across the United States and abroad. It affects downtowns and the burbs. And some systemic issues can make the problem feel un-fixable.

But it’s not hopeless. You can help in meaningful ways, too. Also, there are a couple organizations right Downtown making a difference every day.

In addition to clean and safe services, Capital Crossroads and Discovery Special Improvement Districts (SIDs) help connect people experiencing homelessness with services. The SIDs have two full-time outreach counselors and Downtown Ambassadors who help people in need.

This past New Years’ Eve when most of us were making plans to ring in the new year with a big bang or a few close friends, Capital Crossroads Ambassador Turquoise Cunningham was on bike getting ready to save a life. But she didn’t know it at the time. A call came in on the Downtown Hotline that someone needed help near one of the hotels. When Turquoise arrived, she found a gentleman near death. Thanks to quick thinking, she called an emergency squad. The gentleman is still in the hospital, but he's recovering. So, help is truly one call away, which is where you come in.

How can I help people experiencing homelessness downtown?

  • First, keep the Downtown Hotline, (614) 228-5718, close by. Call it if you see someone who might need help. Downtown ambassadors and outreach counselors can take the time to assess needs and connect people to services.
  • Give to organizations that help provide services for people experiencing homelessness. 
  • Get involved. Your workplace can also become a business member of Capital Crossroads SID, which helps provide even more services including homeless outreach.
  • Volunteer with an agency providing meals. Did you know hot meals (three meals a day) are available 365 days a year downtown? Faith Mission and the Open Shelter offer meals, too.
  • Attend a lunch and learn about the problem. One is coming up soon. 
  • Offer respect. Studies indicate seven in 10 people are one paycheck away from experiencing homelessness. So, this could affect you or someone you love in the near future.

Lastly, know that Capital Crossroads and Discovery SIDs do even more than help people experiencing homelessness. Here’s a list of things they’re doing to help make downtown great.