Q: I thought Bethesda, Maryland is affluent. Are there are people living on the streets here?
A: Yes, there are many homeless people in Bethesda. However, Bethesda Cares serves clients from across Montgomery County, not just Bethesda.
Q: Why are people homeless?
A: There is no single cause of homelessness. The term “the homeless” is merely an umbrella term that covers many different problems and cracks in society’s safety net. There are, however, some distinguishable factors that often contribute to persons becoming and remaining homeless including: lack of affordable housing, low wages, unemployment, substance abuse, mental illness, incarceration, and minority sexual orientation.
Q: Should I give to panhandlers?
A: Our experience at Bethesda Cares is that panhandling is not the answer and here are some reasons why: panhandling doesn’t provide benefits like insurance, it is not steady or reliable income, in creates a dependence on others, and is a cycle that is hard to break even if someone doesn’t intend to do it very long. Panhandling often feeds an addiction, be it gambling, alcohol, or drugs. Giving change to panhandlers does not solve the problems of the person. If you want to give to the individual consider buying food or coffee. Bethesda Cares offers a bright orange card that lists our services that can be given out to those on the street instead of change.
Q: What can I do to help?
A: Check out the How You Can Help section of this website.
Q: What if I need help?
A: Call the Bethesda Cares office at (301) 907-9244, or come by our Drop-In Center at 7728 Woodmont Avenue in downtown Bethesda.
Q: Is Bethesda Cares a shelter?
A: Bethesda Cares is not an overnight shelter. Bethesda Cares provides services to clients Monday through Friday each week. If you need emergency shelter please call the Montgomery County Crisis Center (240) 777-4000.