Count Shows Hundreds Without Homes, Jakob Wissel Says
OCALA, FL / ACCESSWIRE / October 15, 2021 / A recent count shows that almost 500 people are homeless in Marion County, FL. About 28 are sheltered in families, and 75 are veterans. About 140 are chronically homeless, which means they've spent years on the streets. Volunteers can act to alleviate some distress of the homeless, says Jakob Wissel, an Ocala native who regularly volunteers to help the homeless.
Gather Clothes and Hygiene Kits
One way to help the homeless is to collect clothes and toiletries. Fresh, clean socks are essential in all seasons, but especially in winter when the recipient can double up on socks to stay warm, says Wissel. Warm, clean clothes are also appreciated; those donating clothes can ask shelters, such as Interfaith Emergency Services and the Salvation Army Center of Hope, about current needs. Volunteers can organize drives for clothes and hygiene items or gather items themselves when shopping and deliver them to the agencies., he says.
Those who want to help the homeless can volunteer to serve meals at shelters or to provide bag lunches for those living on the street, says Jakob Wissel. They can work with agencies to provide grocery store gift cards. People who regularly encounter the same homeless people in their daily routine may choose to give fresh fruit, bottled water, or grocery gift cards directly to those they meet.
Help With ID Cards
Without identification, homeless people are caught in a vicious cycle, says Jakob Wissel. They can't access necessary medical care or get into public buildings to access benefits. Obtaining identification isn't an easy task for homeless people because they have difficulty obtaining the documents they need. Volunteers can provide a tremendous service by helping with this process, says Wissel.
Advocacy on the local, state, and federal levels is critical to making systemic policies to eliminate homelessness, says Wissel. Joining or contributing to a coalition, following local politics, and writing to local leaders on pertinent issues are three ways to advocate on behalf of the homeless, he says.
About Jakob Wissel
Jakob Wissel volunteers to help the homeless by serving lunch, collecting clothes and personal hygiene kits, and helping them to obtain ID cards.
He was born in Ocala and attended Blessed Trinity Catholic School and Trinity High School. He also attended First United Methodist Church as a boy and became an Eagle Scout in 2012. He graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa and has completed one year of law school. Currently, he is taking a break from his studies to help care for his mother in Ocala.
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SOURCE: Jakob Wissel