"Homeless in Harvard" by John Christopher Frame was about a Harvard student who had befriended a few homeless people who live their lives on the Harvard Square (or thereabouts). He decided to live as a homeless person for a summer prior to his last year of college.
I haven't had much experience with homelessness except walking around downtown Denver or Kansas City - even around Lincoln, NE. My husband and I are always willing to buy food, more than give money but we have done that on several occasions, too. During a Denver Christmas Conference before Moose was born, Big A went out on the streets of Denver with several other college students to hand out socks, tents, and other supplies to help accommodate some of the many, many homeless people who live on the streets and sleep around the capitol building. I know it was an experience for them to meet the people and hear their stories.
Frame took his experience with a group who serves meals to the homeless one step further. A few of his homeless friends took him under their wings to help him have this experience. He slept on the ground, he stemmed for money, he ate from the garbage. Many things that so many of us will never have to do. At the end of the book he wondered what exactly his time on the streets meant; it's not like he did anything to really help any of them. Or did he? He did exactly what the lowest people in the Bible needed (and Jesus did for them): he built relationships. We all crave community and he was brought into their community. He showed them that there are people willing to be friends, to help, to live with them, not for any purpose but to be their friends.
I hope my family never has to live on the streets; so far so good. In our town there really isn't homelessness that is to my awareness (but sometimes people can be so good at hiding things). However, my part can be to help. I am hosting a clothing swap later this month and the things not picked up by "shoppers" will be donated (if it's worthy of donation). I can very well pray for those with addictions or other circumstances that lead them to the streets. Pray for their safety, their provision, their health, their hearts. I do wish there were more in the book about how to better assist those on the streets.
Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. Others may or may not have the same experience(s) or opinions as I've had.