You might pass them on the street with your eyes down, refusing to meet the gaze of the man on the corner begging for money. Perhaps you feel something like compassion but not enough to bring you to action.

It can be an uneasy moment because most of us don’t know what to do. There can be fear in approaching someone on the street and sometimes it’s just easier to ignore them than to act.

Did you know that only 18% of homeless are considered chronically homeless? For the rest, their situation is temporary.

Why does it exist?

Top 5 Causes of Homelessness

  • Lack of Affordable Housing

  • Poverty

  • Mental Illness

  • Unemployment

  • Substance Use Disorder

What does it look like?

18% of the homeless population are chronically homeless

  • An individual or family that is homeless and resides in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter, and has been homeless and residing in such a place for at least 1 year or on at least four separate occasions in the last 3 years. (McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987)
  • Generally struggle with complex, disabling, and long-term health conditions such as a serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or physical disability, or other medical conditions. (
  • Find it difficult to get back into housing.
  • Those who choose to live “off the grid.”

82% are transitionally homeless

  • It’s the single mom who lost her job and had to sleep in her car with her baby.
  • It’s the family that couldn’t make rent and got evicted. (Tucson is high on the list of places in the U.S. where housing is a burden. 45.8% of Pima County households spend over 30% of income on housing, and 24.4% spend more than half.)
  • It’s the person just released from prison who’s sleeping on a friend’s couch.

Ways to Help

  • Donate your time and talent. We have a variety of volunteer opportunities. You could greet guests, prep food, or serve meals. You could pray with our guests, help out with maintenance, offer your professional skills (attorney, teacher, pastor, etc.), or more. Volunteers are vital to all we do, and we’ll work together to find a place for you! Click Here for more information.
  • Donate your treasure. We’re a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and we do not accept government funding, so your financial support is vital to our programs and services. Go to our Donate Page to learn more.
  • Donate your goods. Do you have clothing, furniture, appliances, or other household items you no longer need? If they’re in good working condition, we will put them to good use, or find someone in need who can. Click Here for more information.
  • Pray. One can never spend too much time in prayer! Please keep our guests, staff, volunteers, and the entire mission in your hearts and prayers.


This does not constitute advice and is meant for information purposes only.

  • What do I do if someone on the streets asks me for money? It’s our nature to want to help those in need, and giving a few dollars is certainly a quick and easy way to do that. Instead of giving money, however, we recommend that you offer one of our invitation cards (see below).
  • What if someone asks me for a ride? The safest way to help someone who needs transportation is to offer them a prepaid bus pass. Click Here for more information.
  • Should I give food or water to a homeless person? If you’re in a safe situation, yes, but we suggest you ask for permission from that person first.
  • Is there anything else I can give to a homeless person? You can make care packages to hand out. Fill large Ziploc bags with bottles of water, granola bars, lip balm, disinfecting wipes, and include one of our Invitation Cards and a bus pass.

Invitation Cards

Direct someone in need to hope, shelter, and transformation at Gospel Rescue Mission by handing these out to those on the street who ask for help.

Print Invitation Cards