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As LA’s homeless population surges, how to handle panhandling




Tents used by the homeless line a downtown Los Angeles street with the skyline behind Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015.
Tents used by the homeless line a downtown Los Angeles street with the skyline behind Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015.
Damian Dovarganes/AP

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While L.A.’s homeless population grows, the question looms of how to handle giving to those in need, especially during the holiday season.

According to the Los Angeles Almanac, there are over 44,000 transients living in Los Angeles County.

Rabbi Marvin Gross, CEO of Union Station Homeless Services, offered a few best practices for donating during the holidays, and during every season.

His advice? 

  1. Refrain from donating cash “Unfortunately when folks are out there asking for money, it’s hard to know what uses they are going to put it to,” Gross said.
  2. Buy food for the hungry. Gross suggested that in lieu of donating money, take a person in need to a restaurant, or bring them some food.
  3. Give your money to organizations. Another option Gross gave is to opt for donating to charitable organizations that work with the homeless population in Los Angeles, like Union Station Homeless Services.
  4. Volunteer your time. Eliminating money from the equation all together, another way to be charitable is to volunteer for organizations that help the homeless. Gross said that Union Station Homeless Services has volunteers every day, and there is information about getting involved on its website, unionstationhs.org. Other organizations to volunteer with include Los Angeles Mission and Union Rescue Mission

Guest:

Rabbi Marvin Gross, CEO of Union Station Homeless Services