I know someone who is homeless…
If you directly know of someone who is or may be experiencing homelessness, and you have a relationship with them, you may choose to share some of the resources that may be available to them. If you do not know the individuals, you can contact 2-1-1 to connect with the outreach workers who will be able to help the individual.
I see panhandlers in the street…
It’s okay to say no to panhandling. Most panhandlers in Lancaster County are not typically homeless even though they have a sign that says “I am homeless”. Similarly, not all homeless are panhandlers. Panhandling and standing on the corner is not illegal. In Lancaster County, most individuals who are panhandlers have options for housing and choose to panhandle to get money. You as an individual can either give to them or you may choose to support an organization such as Lanc Co MyHome who helps all people experiencing homelessness.
I see someone laying down on a park bench…
Parks are public spaces. Everyone has a right to be in the park. If they are not harming anyone you can leave them to sleep. Unless they are disrupting you, there is no reason to call the police.
I see someone who carrying many bags or pushing a shopping cart with personal belongings…
Not everyone who is carrying many bags or pushing a cart with personal belongings is homeless. Individual who experience mental health issues are sometimes known to be hoarders. In fact, many regular respected individuals a are also hoarders. People who live in unsafe living conditions may feel that it is in their interest to keep their belongings with them. This is their choice. You may choose to educate yourself on mental health illness and local safe housing ordinances.
I see someone sleeping their car…
If they are merely taking a nap, there is no issue. If you believe they are living in their car you may want to notify the services who can help.
I see someone using illicit drugs in public spaces
Contact local police