Help the Homeless
DID YOU KNOW THAT:
Homelessness affects more Long Islanders than you might think - and most of them don't look like the stereotypical "homeless person". Many live in local family or emergency shelters, motels, or in the homes of friends and family. Only 3% of Long Island's homeless live outdoors or in a car.
Of the 3,843 Long Islanders who went homeless on any given night in 2019, 70% belonged to families with children. Many veterans and survivors of domestic abuse also find themselves temporarily homeless.
33% of homeless adults on Long Island suffer from chronic health issues such as disability or HIV/AIDS that impact their ability to work. 48% suffer from some form of Mental Health issue.
To Learn More About Homelessness in New York, please see the following resource:
Homeless Shelters and Homelessness in New York State by the New York State Office of the State Comptroller. 2016.
Accessible at: https://www.osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/093016/16d3.pdf
Annual Street Homeless Count by the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless. 2019.
Accessible at: https://www.addressthehomeless.org/copy-of-homeless-count
Many people have compassion towards those struggling with homelessness and want to help in any way they can. But because some homeless people suffer from addictions or mental health problems, you should be cautious when engaging with them. Overall, it is best for you to contact an organization like Lighthouse Mission, the Department of Social Services, or your local Police Department that knows how best to help.
Department of Social Services:
Pax Christi Hospitality Center
How You Can Help:
Make a "Mission Kit"
A ziploc bag filled with sample-sized personal hygiene items and toiletries is a special blessing for those without a home. Soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving cream, razors & printed bible verses go a long way for those in need. - Plus, it's a fun activity for your family, church, scout troop, or business. Keeping a plastic bag filled with these toiletries, some snacks, and a few seasonal items in your car is a great way to help people you see while on the go.
Here are some extra seasonal items you can include:
Winter: XL-size Coat, Gloves, Hat, Heating Packs
Summer: Bottled Water, Juice, First-Aid Ice Pack
Donate Food to Lighthouse Mission
Lighthouse Mission's food comes through donations from people like you. We accept non-perishable foods (canned goods, pastas, cereal, bottled water, etc.), meats (hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, turkeys, etc.), dairy products, and fresh fruits & vegetables.
We DO NOT accept donations of cooked food or leftovers, since we are not a soup kitchen.
Donate Clothing to Lighthouse Mission
Have a closet full of old clothes? We accept donations of new and gently-used clothes of any sort, size, and season. Donations of hats, gloves, and coats are especially needed during the winter months. Please bring all clothing donations to our building in North Bellport. We are open weekdays from 9:00am to 4:00pm.
Unable to make it to the Mission during the day? You can place any clothing donations inside our "Donation Drop Box" located right outside our building!
Become a Financial Donor to Lighthouse Mission
Lighthouse Mission share the Good News of Jesus by helping those in need. Your donations make this work possible. All funding goes to support programs right here on Long Island, and you can choose to make a one-time gift, or become a monthly partners. Click the "Donate" Button at the top of your page, or CLICK HERE to donate.
What NOT to Do:
DO NOT go into the woods or to “homeless camps”
These areas are unsafe due to their lack of visibility from the road and frequently have needles, broken glass, and other hazards on the ground. If you learn about one of these areas, contact Lighthouse Mission. Our Missionary Staff has been working with the homeless for many years and knows how to safely work with these communities.
DO NOT offer to give a homeless individual a ride in your car.
Personal boundaries for your safety are important. Because of the unknowns when dealing with the homeless, you should err on the side of caution. If someone asks you for a ride, call a taxi or Lighthouse Mission.
DO NOT bring a homeless individual into your home or give out your address on cold days
There are many Emergency Shelters with properly trained staff where the homeless can stay free-of-charge by contacting the Department of Social Services.
Please call the Department of Social Services Emergency Hotline at (631) 854-9930 for information on these services.
DO NOT give out money or gift cards
As some homeless individuals are battling addiction, it is best to not give out items that can be exchanged for drugs or alcohol. Food and bottled water are much better alternatives that meet an important need.
IN SHORT: Be Cautious!
Always exercise caution when engaging with the homeless. Remember that it is not wrong to prioritize your safety. Trained staff members at Lighthouse Mission and other community organizations know how to work with these populations.
Please call Lighthouse Mission at (631) 758-7584 or the Department of Social Services Emergency Hotline at (631) 854-9930.