10 Ways To Help Those Who May Be Experiencing Homelessness or Addictions

During the winter months, we get so much support from everyone! We get gifts, supplies, and much-needed monetary donations. We truly appreciate it! The colder months are also the time of year when many want to help our community members facing homelessness in Winnipeg.

With these ten tips, you can help immediately and still donate to help MSP help others too! 

Tip #1: Ask Don’t Assume

Say hello, introduce yourself, and ask if the person requires anything. You can step closer to chat with them, but not every person outdoors needs help or wants to speak to strangers.

Tip #2: Offer, Don’t Dump

People often need items like money, food, water, and weather-appropriate gear, but not everyone’s needs are similar. Ask if you have something to offer, and if you’re declined, don’t leave items behind.

Tip #3: Offer More Than Stuff

People may need help with things other than food and supplies.  If possible, offer to help with phone calls, directions, trash removals, or lend a friendly ear.

Tip #4: Don’t Be Heavy

Imagine you’re outfitting a mountaineer for an extreme expedition: items should be lightweight and viable for extreme cold, wetness, and wind. Avoid anything heavy or bulky that doesn’t repel water or doesn’t provide the ability to breathe.

Tip #5: Camping, Not Settling In

Encampments are temporary until a person secures housing or moves. Supplies should be portable and designed for all-season camping. So, avoid heavy,hard-to-move fire hazards like furniture or building supplies.

Tip #6: Keep It Cool, or Keep It Warm

If you’re offering perishable food or drinks, offer it in a lightweight, reusable, insulated container that will keep it warm or cool. Don’t use disposable packaging.

Tip #7: Where There is Smoke

Fires have a high risk of injury or death for people sleeping outdoors, so be aware of fire hazards. Offer alternate means of warmth and light, such as hand-warmers, generators, and lights with extra batteries.

Tip #8: Do Not Post

Don’t post pictures of yourself helping on social media. Respect the privacy of others because you do not need validation to feel good about being kind.

Tip #9: Know Who To Call For Help

For help with supplies, wellness checks, sheltering options and transportation, call our Van Patrol at 204-232-5217 or 211. If someone is injured, threatened, or unresponsive, call 911.

Tip #10: Print & Share

Download and print helpful resource sheets to share at:


If you’d like graphics to share with your social media or community, download the tips below!

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