Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity operates a home improvement thrift store called the ReStore. Two men volunteering in our store are homeless and I have spent some time trying to figure out why they are here; after all they are not paid for their service.
If you ask them how to find something they will direct you. If the rest rooms are clean they are responsible. If you need help carrying something to your car they are there to help. Do you want to know how you can tell they are homeless? The answer is you can't.
I think it is important to foster a connection for a better understanding of people who are struggling and each year around the holidays I look for a touchstone for understanding them. The idea came from a quote I read years ago by Herman Melville, "A man thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things."