Homeless people live under a near-constant threat of violence and with uncertainty about almost every aspect of their lives, instructors explain.

“If you have a better understanding of that, it enables you to start from a more compassionate place,” said Susan Bender, the manager of the Toronto Drop-in Network.

The subsequent interaction should be humane, above all else.

A simple greeting and exchange of names is a great place to start, she said, then you could ask the person how you can help them.

“Your interaction with them can change their day,” Bender said.