What to do when…

We frequently receive questions from people that would like to help a homeless person but do not know how to do it. 

We, as a homeless charity, provide homeless people and people in need with warm meals, hot tea and coffee, clothing and sleeping bags during our three tours a week. However, looking after persons individually goes beyond our limited possibilities as volunteers. You can find more organisations for helping homeless people on kaeltehilfe-berlin.de

Here we have prepared a brief guide on how to behave with homeless people.


If you see a homeless person you care about, approach them directly. Ask them if they need help or anything else. This may take a little effort, but it’s really quite simple. If the person doesn’t want to accept help, then you should accept their wish.

By the way: Just like you, homeless people are also happy about a little „Hello, how are you?“ or a friendly smile and your honest attention.

Food or Money?

Many people ask us whether it is okay to give money to a homeless person or whether donations in kind would not be more appropriate. We as an association say quite clearly: Of course it is okay to give money to a homeless person. Even at the „risk“ that the person buys alcohol, tobacco or other drugs with this money.

Because: Homelessness often goes hand in hand with addiction. By donating money, you spare these people an involuntary cold turkey.

Besides, who doesn’t like to decide for themselves what they do with their money?

However, if you decide against giving money to a homeless person but still want to help, just ask them, „I don’t have any money, but is there anything else I can help you with?“ and give them a listen or buy them something to eat or drink that they feel like.

Of course, you can also help by getting involved with us and preparing food on our premises, distributing it on our tours, or donating money to our association.

Reacting in an Emergency

If you are worried about a person but they are still responsive, ask them if you can help them. You can offer food and drink.

You can also offer to get help for her (e.g., a doctor or ambulance). However, make sure she really wants it and waits with you until it gets there.  

If the person is unresponsive and in a dangerous situation, do not hesitate to call the emergency services on 112.