Author Topic: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?  (Read 20530 times)

purplish

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Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« on: December 29, 2014, 06:59:28 PM »
I admit I don't.  I feel like in general it won't really help anything, but also because in general, I don't like talking to people on the street, or putting myself in a situation where someone could rob me.  Mind you, not that I specifically think someone would do that just because they're homeless- I just in general, being female, don't trust talking to people I don't know.  But I admit I feel guilty about not helping.  I suppose I also feel like I do help in other ways, as with my job I often work with helping families in poverty.

fartface

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2014, 08:25:57 PM »
I never give money unless they are talented and playing good music (i.e. Vegas).

However, I often feed them, especially if my kids are with. I know this sounds strange, but we've been downtown Denver or other big cities, and befriend the homeless hanging around. Next thing you know, I'm buying them lunch at Subway or some other sandwich shop. I feel good b/c I know they're not drinking my $$$ away, and I'm teaching my kids to love thy neighbor and never look down your nose at ANYONE. We are all valuable human beings -- everybody counts. You'd be amazed if you sit and chat w/these people all the new things you'll learn about love, life, humanity, and gratitude.

Cheers.


Rustyfa

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2014, 09:17:24 PM »
Yes, of course.

fa

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2014, 09:32:51 PM »

Next thing you know, I'm buying them lunch at Subway or some other sandwich shop. I feel good b/c I know they're not drinking my $$$ away, and I'm teaching my kids to love thy neighbor and never look down your nose at ANYONE. We are all valuable human beings -- everybody counts. You'd be amazed if you sit and chat w/these people all the new things you'll learn about love, life, humanity, and gratitude.

Interesting.  The times that I offered food to a homeless person, they have turned me down.  I reinforced my impression they just want to be stoned.  So I stopped offering.  I agree that we should not look down on the homeless, but my track record with has just been terrible.

Josiecat

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2014, 09:55:43 PM »
No. I pay taxes to support those who need help.

windypig

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2014, 09:58:38 PM »
Same, I offered one homeless guy an apple i had just bought, and he scoffed at me and asked "how about a slice of pizza"?

Guess beggars can try to be choosers.

Artemis67

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2014, 10:18:18 PM »
I give money to rock-bottom hopeless alcoholics, and to people who are obviously mentally ill (to the point of being non-functional). There's a lot of overlap between the two groups.

I could make all kinds of judgments on how they ended up as human wreckage, but at this point they're irrelevant. Some of them--such as one old alkie I see around who wears layers of plastic bags on his head and feet, and whose brain has gone to mush--are pretty much dead people waiting to die. There's also a young woman with untreated schizophrenia who I see on the bus all the time; she's homeless, life on the streets is beating the shit out of her, and in her mind she's not even on this planet most of the time. 

There's no shifting for themselves, pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, getting a job, or cleaning up their act. They don't even have sob stories, or box-flap resumes at that point, and a lot of the time they're even beyond begging--they're just there. They've fallen about as far as humans can go. So at that point? I figure I might as well let them have a few bucks to buy whatever their anaesthetic of choice is.

pdxvandal

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2014, 11:24:39 PM »
I used to as a younger person (20s), but not recently. If they do something besides just ask for money, I will give them something. For example, one guy a few weeks ago put together a rap about life/society that was pretty good. And he wasn't an asshole. I gave him a few bucks. Another guy in Austin named off all the state capitals. I gave him a few bucks too.

But overall, no.

NICE!

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2014, 04:26:10 PM »
I've often offered to buy food and many have taken me up on it. I feel that more people should try this strategy. The next time it happens I want to invite the person to sit down to eat with me in a nearby Chipotle or something, my only condition will be that they tell me their story.

wtjbatman

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2014, 04:42:10 PM »
Hell no. If you give them money, they just bother you for more. And keep bothering other people ("Hey, it worked on wtjbatman, might as well keep begging!"). They need help, not a handout.

Eric

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2014, 04:49:41 PM »
[intentionallyimflamatorycomment]

Of course.  I'm not some heartless monster. 

[/intentionallyimflamatorycomment]

thenextguy

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2014, 05:50:56 PM »
I don't. The reason why I don't is because there are organizations (churches, etc.) where they can go to get food.

If I want to help, I'm more inclined to donate to a charity that helps homelessness rather than giving directly to the people.

lexie2000

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2014, 05:56:42 PM »
Money - no.

Food - yes.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2014, 06:00:24 PM »
I'll give them my lunch and directions to the very well run cooperative ministry.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2014, 08:17:11 PM »
No. I've seen (and heard) too many scammers, too many liars, too many people who just don't want to work. I don't believe they are the majority, by any means. But there s no f***ing way I will give money to someone who panhandles on the street.

Cromacster

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2014, 08:54:20 PM »
I have a friend who is a social worker who has an interesting blog post on this topic.

A pretty quick read if you are interested.

http://www.theironbuzz.com/on-the-people-we-pretend-not-to-see/

Quote
Since I work in their homes, often times I’m in the worst of the bad neighborhoods. Public housing sure is a popular whipping post for America, but it sure is terrible. The streets around those areas are quieter than you might think, but they’re always off of a road that intersects another road and on those corners are men and women with signs saying “Anything helps.” On those corners is where I always get frozen in a terrible place between charity and stone-heartedness. Essentially, I have two sides battling inside me when I see a Person on the Corner.

lielec11

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2014, 09:19:09 PM »
99% of the time no. In NYC they're all over the place, singing on the subways, selling candy for their "basketball team" that doesn't exist, or simply yell at you. I guess I've become desensitized to it. ALthough I tend to be more open hearted to the homeless with dogs :-/

southern granny

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2014, 09:37:47 PM »
Yes, I have on several occasions.  Maybe they are scamming, but I would rather they be in the wrong than me ( if they are really in need.)  Of course I don't live in a big city where I encounter dozens of them every day.  Maybe if I did, maybe I would limit it to one person a day.  I don't know. 

Cwadda

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2014, 09:43:03 PM »
Nope, never money. You never know what they could actually spending it on or if they're legitimate. Could be drugs.

I'm definitely happy to give food though!

likeavision

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2014, 11:08:42 PM »
Where I live currently, I don't ever see anyone asking for money on the streets (unless you want to count the firefighters with their boots collecting money at the intersections for some fundraising drive a few times a year).  This thread makes me recall living in NYC when I was younger though.  I used to selectively give money to those asking for it on the streets but didn't otherwise engage.  At the time, I was living on the upper east side and my roommate was an absolutely stunning model.  One day, the phone rang and it was a woman looking for my roommate.  I offered to take a message but she said she didn't have a phone and would have to call back.  It seemed a little odd to me and she just didn't sound like someone who'd be calling our apartment so I asked my roommate about it later when she got home and she told me the story.  She'd met this woman who was panhandling on the street with her baby so she could buy diapers and food.  My roommate not only stopped to talk to the woman but really listened to her story.  Her boyfriend had walked out on her and their baby and had taken the rent money so her landlord had kicked her and her baby out on the streets (even though she was employed and could pay the rent in the future).  After hearing the story, my roommate actually got on the subway with this woman and her baby, travelled out to some godforsaken area of Queens, met with her landlord, paid her back rent and her current month's rent and then went to the grocery store to buy the woman enough groceries, diapers and formula to get her through to her next paycheck.  The woman had agreed to pay my roommate back $50 a week and that's why she had been calling.  If I'd seen the woman on the streets, I'd have probably given her $5 or $10 and thought I'd done my good deed for the day.  What my roommate did was pretty extraordinary and proof that some people aren't just looking for a handout, but instead just need a helping hand.  Ever since then, I've always hoped that I never become so jaded that I can't accept that possibility.

Cressida

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2014, 11:23:26 PM »
I don't. There are a few reasons:
  • I almost never have any cash with me.
  • I'm a small female and I'm afraid they might be crazy or violent.
  • I sometimes notice that a panhandler will let several pedestrians go by, then see me and immediately approach to harass me. I find this infuriating. It's as if they're saying to themselves, "small," check, "lady," check, "neat haircut and clothes," check:  conclusion, "pushover and people-pleaser, I'll work on that one!" It's not just panhandlers, either; it's also the Greenpeace and Doctors Without Borders hipsters with their clipboards. If I see anyone target me specifically, they get a death stare and nothing else.

MustachianMD

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2014, 11:52:17 PM »
I rarely ever do. my reasons why:

1. From my experience there are a significant number that are scammers- at least when I was out in California and Chicago- not homeless but acting the part.

2. I work in the emergency department, and I have seen people that get intoxicated, panhandle, and then come straight back to the ED with intoxication. This overburdens the health system and the repetitive etoh intoxication has long standing effects on their psyche. We all have free will, but I will not contribute money to someone that I think will use it for drugs or alcohol.

3. I will definitely not give to kids because it reinforces people using them to pull at heart strings. This also puts them at great risk.

4. There are many resources out there for people on the street. We give them these resources everyday in the emergency department. I prefer to give my money to these resources because I know they will go to providing essentials like food and shelter.

5. I vote to advocate for welfare resources in  my community, this is "free" but it provides a way for all of us in society to contribute to those i the greatest needs through our tax dollars.

Lyssa

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2014, 03:13:16 AM »
I sometimes notice that a panhandler will let several pedestrians go by, then see me and immediately approach to harass me. I find this infuriating. It's as if they're saying to themselves, "small," check, "lady," check, "neat haircut and clothes," check:  conclusion, "pushover and people-pleaser, I'll work on that one!" It's not just panhandlers, either; it's also the Greenpeace and Doctors Without Borders hipsters with their clipboards. If I see anyone target me specifically, they get a death stare and nothing else.

I've noticed this pattern as well. I sometimes gave to panhandlers in the past and even had a few argue with me that I could give more. Wtf? Today I just smile and politely tell them no if they ask me friendly for spare change and "death stare" at the others. The most obnoxious experience lately was someone stepping in my way and blocking the entry to an escalator. I bet he doesn't try that one on a big strong guy...

JLee

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2014, 07:20:05 AM »
I often have extra bottled water in my truck and I will hand one out to the 'homeless' guys at offramps with signs. I have never been turned down and they have always appeared genuinely thankful.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2014, 07:24:55 AM »
I've given money a few times, but mostly I'll give them food.

On many occasions I have had a doggie bag of leftovers, or I didn't eat my lunch, and offered it; sometimes it is turned down (I figure those are the people who aren't really homeless, or at least have a steady source of food) and sometimes it is taken- and then opened immediately and eaten. You have to be really hungry to gobble down someone's leftovers.  I gave a guy my leftover (from home) lunch once, in the tupperware. He asked if I would be back tomorrow, he couldn't clean it, but he'd give me the container back.  I told him to keep it, but I thought that was nice.

One day when I went out to eat, I got a sandwich for a homeless guy, and a smaller one than I planned for myself (because I only had a small amount to spend), and he complained that I didn't get him the big size. Who the hell complains about free food?  That pissed me off to no end, so I don't give anything to anyone in that area of town anymore. He ruined it for everyone else.


EDSMedS

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2014, 07:29:37 AM »
Food, clothing, resources for shelter, conversation, respect: yes.

Money: no.

MrFancypants

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2014, 07:47:42 AM »
Every now and then if I've got a buck or change in my pocket.

If I have a couple of minutes to spare and it's convenient I usually prefer to give them a meal.

I understand that there are a certain number of scammers out there to treat panhandling like a job, but if I help one person in genuine need out of every ten I feel like it'll have been worth it.

DragonSlayer

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2014, 08:02:19 AM »
We have panhandlers around here all the time. I've only given once, and that was actually to the dog. The guy had his dog with him and his sign said something like, "Man and dog need help." So I bought a bag of dog chow and gave it to him. He was surprised, but grateful. It probably means I'm cold-hearted that I care more for the dog than the man, but the man can help himself by going to a soup kitchen, shelter, etc. while the dog won't be allowed in those places. And at least dog food can't buy drugs or booze.

But generally, I don't give because we have a lot of scammers. Our news even exposed one guy who was making six figures tax free panhandling. He was really living in one of the nicest subdivisions in town. Sure, some need help but since I can't tell who is and isn't a scammer, I only help the dogs.

EDSMedS

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2014, 08:06:57 AM »
Our news even exposed one guy who was making six figures tax free panhandling. He was really living in one of the nicest subdivisions in town.

Facetiously, this sounds like a great enterprising solution!  What a brilliant idea: outdoors, social, making people feel good, and not producing worthless trinkets that pile in trash heaps!

If he were doing the same operating a business, he would be applauded AND have tax lawyers to justify his evasion.

FarmerPete

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2014, 08:19:50 AM »
Most of them are just alcoholics.  Give the money to the real homeless by giving to the local shelters/food banks.

http://archive.lansingstatejournal.com/VideoNetwork/2549458668001/Reporter-follows-homeless-panhandler-home

deltabelle

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2014, 08:20:33 AM »
I live in a very small town, so I don't see homeless people a whole lot.  We've been to larger cities and seen people standing with signs on the side of the road and my husband pulls over and gives them a few dollars.  My husband sees this in his line of work quite frequently and he really prefers to buy them a meal.

I do contribute to a friend's homeless ministry that she does in a larger city.  With donations, she purchases warm winter boots and gloves and little bags with toiletries and snack items.

MrFancypants

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2014, 09:05:01 AM »
Most of them are just alcoholics.  Give the money to the real homeless by giving to the local shelters/food banks.

http://archive.lansingstatejournal.com/VideoNetwork/2549458668001/Reporter-follows-homeless-panhandler-home

So a person who struggles with addiction and probably has mental health issues is somehow less worthy of compassion?

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2014, 09:08:50 AM »
I sometimes give food, occasionally I will give a few bucks. I have always lived in rural areas and small towns, so I don't see homeless people as frequently as city dwellers. They have always gratefully accepted whatever I have given.

EDSMedS

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #34 on: December 31, 2014, 09:37:38 AM »
Most of them are just alcoholics.  Give the money to the real homeless by giving to the local shelters/food banks.

http://archive.lansingstatejournal.com/VideoNetwork/2549458668001/Reporter-follows-homeless-panhandler-home

So a person who struggles with addiction and probably has mental health issues is somehow less worthy of compassion?

Compassion is just weakness leaving the wallet!!  You're asking for CHAOS!!! -->http://www.creators.com/opinion/bill-oreilly/high-on-compassion.html

Spork

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #35 on: December 31, 2014, 09:53:43 AM »
Most of them are just alcoholics.  Give the money to the real homeless by giving to the local shelters/food banks.

http://archive.lansingstatejournal.com/VideoNetwork/2549458668001/Reporter-follows-homeless-panhandler-home

So a person who struggles with addiction and probably has mental health issues is somehow less worthy of compassion?

I'm not trying to speak for FarmerPete... but I didn't take it that way.  Giving to a local shelter/food bank sounds compassionate to me.

Just a word here as someone that's dealt with an alcoholic family member for 30+ years...  You are unlikely to understand or have the capability to deal with them in a meaningful way.  (I know at least *I* don't.)  Finding a way to help them is exceedingly difficult and may well be perceived as harm.  I have seen attempts to take care of my sibling (mostly through money) actually make things much worse.  More than a few professionals have urged that this sort of "help" was actually enabling and making things worse.  Their advice was to truly give only the minimal amount.  In other words: when hungry you can provide food; if they need medical care you can pay for it (but go directly to the provider and pay them).

Sorry... this may not equate directly to the homeless.  But I see shelters and food pantries as both the things that provide the most help *and* provide the least harm.

BlueMR2

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #36 on: December 31, 2014, 09:58:23 AM »
I do not give since I don't know their situation.  Through my Dad's work, he's known a handful of the panhandlers that hang out on the side of the street in grubby clothes.  They all pull in more income panhandling than I do working.  There's a family that camps out on the exit ramp near my home.  They all have nice shiny new iPhones.

I'm sure there are people that both need and would accept help, but I have no realistic way of determining who they are.

FarmerPete

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2014, 10:16:29 AM »
Most of them are just alcoholics.  Give the money to the real homeless by giving to the local shelters/food banks.

http://archive.lansingstatejournal.com/VideoNetwork/2549458668001/Reporter-follows-homeless-panhandler-home

So a person who struggles with addiction and probably has mental health issues is somehow less worthy of compassion?

The alcoholics can go to the food banks/shelters just like the others.  There are plenty of places out there to help them recover.  Most of them don't want to recover.  That's their choice, but I will never support them in that decision.

Would you hand a panhandling alcoholic a can of beer?  No?  You might as well be if you hand them a couple bucks.  I'd prefer to get people help, not just subsidize their addiction.  I don't feel like that's lacking compassion.  I feel it's being a realist and trying to actually help people instead of just giving them a buck or two so I can feel better about myself.

benjenn

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #38 on: December 31, 2014, 10:22:12 AM »
We don't give money but I put together what we call "blessings bags" and keep them in our cars.  We don't give them to every panhandler we see but when we see someone we think looks like they genuinely need help, we hand them a bag that contains a pair of socks, some toothpaste, a toothbrush, some deodorant, some chapstick, a package of cheese/peanut butter and crackers, a pack of cookies, a bottle of water and a note that says we hope things get better for them.  It's not a lot... we get the stuff for the bags at the dollar store generally.  It makes us feel better than just driving by and hopefully helps a tiny bit - maybe just to let them know someone cares.

HazelStone

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #39 on: December 31, 2014, 11:11:11 AM »
<un-lurk>

There is both the charitable aspect and the pragmatic aspect.

I set aside what I call a "go-away" dollar in my coat pocket or pants pocket whenever I head into the city. My DH and I will sometimes go downtown on a nice date and end up walking around the scenic/tourist-y area of town. Neither of us are very big; I find it simpler to just give a dollar to the big grizzled dude with an odd glint in his eye. The dollar is already budgeted as part of the trip. Sometimes it is given out, sometimes it isn't. In any case, it is available on a very quick grab from my pocket, keeping my eye on the panhandler. My purse is never opened.

Yes, I am being a soft touch. Yes, I'm being slightly chicken. I have a bunch of conflicted feelings every time I give to or see a beggar. But I have also endured long term unemployment TWICE- though I had the backstop of friends/family if I needed it. Maybe some of these poor souls didn't.

I give to the church and I give to the food bank. DH does not make formal donations (though I try to get him to do so during the high holidays). He did volunteer a lot of time to community service orgs in college, in his defense. One night, coming back from a symphony concert, he surprised me. There were panhandlers at the stop lights (on the artery for concertgoers to leave town). We're going to be stuck at the light another cycle yet. DH asks me if I have a dollar in my purse.  I ask him why. He points to a very grungy panhandler wth no legs, panhandling from his crutches. The panhandler was being very careful not to obstruct traffic.  "Can't fake having no legs," he said. I scramble in my purse to see if I had a dollar. DH was aware that the money likely as not would be used for booze or drugs, but sometimes you just need to give the benefit of the doubt. From here came the habit of the "go-away" dollar.

"Get a damn job" was a much easier argument circa 2007. You still have no excuse if you don't try... but jobs are harder to come by nowadays. And if you have severe mental illness, that's a different story.

</unlurk>


shotgunwilly

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #40 on: December 31, 2014, 01:08:03 PM »
Most of them are just alcoholics.  Give the money to the real homeless by giving to the local shelters/food banks.

http://archive.lansingstatejournal.com/VideoNetwork/2549458668001/Reporter-follows-homeless-panhandler-home

So a person who struggles with addiction and probably has mental health issues is somehow less worthy of compassion?

No. But giving them a means to feed their addiction is compassion?

kathrynd

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #41 on: December 31, 2014, 08:57:05 PM »
No, I don't, for many of the same reasons other posters have stated.

Mental disease and drug addiction (including alcohol) is the largest contributor.
I wish they would bring back mental institutions.It doesn't cure them. It takes them off the streets, and makes us and them safer.


mochila

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #42 on: December 31, 2014, 09:11:54 PM »
Another no. I never have cash on me, and I don't hesitate to say so when I'm asked for cash. A few months ago one man followed me, suggesting that I withdraw some cash for him from my credit or debit card. As another small woman, I was anxious, but I still don't think it's ok not to acknowledge someone just because s/he is panhandling.

As for giving food, many years ago, during my first week in the little town of a big state university, a pair of men asked my help outside a Burger King, so I went inside and bought burgers, which the shorter man threw back at me. 18-year-old me was already a vegetarian (which has saved me tons over the years), so I felt a bit like Carrie at the prom.

These days I volunteer with my church when it participates in my city's emergency shelter program, which also receives health-and-beauty stuff I get with coupons. Like other posters, I also volunteer at the food bank, a couple weeks ago assembling seemingly endless racks of "backpack" rations for kids who would otherwise not be able to eat ovet the holidays.

No matter how big the stash o' (invested, so not really) cash grows, I'm always aware that a concatenation of misfortune could make me turn to panhandling.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2014, 09:18:33 PM by mochila »

zsmith

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #43 on: December 31, 2014, 09:33:00 PM »
We don't give money but I put together what we call "blessings bags" and keep them in our cars.  We don't give them to every panhandler we see but when we see someone we think looks like they genuinely need help, we hand them a bag that contains a pair of socks, some toothpaste, a toothbrush, some deodorant, some chapstick, a package of cheese/peanut butter and crackers, a pack of cookies, a bottle of water and a note that says we hope things get better for them.  It's not a lot... we get the stuff for the bags at the dollar store generally.  It makes us feel better than just driving by and hopefully helps a tiny bit - maybe just to let them know someone cares.

Love this! It's actually on my to-do list for 2015. In my opinion, improving someone's position slightly is worthwhile and to me it's not about the panhandler, homeless person or whoever; it's about me and how I respond and if I can do so with compassion, that's important.

In general I don't give money to people asking on the street, but choose to donate to local charities that are helping out.

Hotstreak

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #44 on: January 01, 2015, 02:45:18 AM »
Giving money to panhandlers makes YOU feel better about yourself, it is not the most effective way to improve the lives of the impoverished.  As others have written here many panhandlers are not actually impoverished, this is their JOB, they are self-employed people with apartments, full fridges, cars, and gadgets.  If you want to help poor needy people, find a good charity and give your money there.


Also, if you do choose to make yourself feel better by paying people, please don't do it from your vehicle, it slows the flow of traffic.

NearlyThere

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #45 on: January 01, 2015, 05:03:04 AM »
I own a restaurant on a street where many homeless sleep. Over the past few years, I've taken time to chat to many of them, to understand what they've been going through and give them some help where we can.

One young fella who is 19 now, but I met him at 17, has been living on the streets for a few years. He's now clean from drugs and is trying to get his life in check. Originally I gave him money, then I gave him time. Now we run a suspended coffee / suspended meal campaign where people can choose to buy a meal for a homeless person and then we make sure they are passed on. We match every donation 1/1.

We support the local homeless charities and I honestly feel I do my utmost to help. However some people don't want help and like some others mentioned here, I've had my goodwill thrown back at me. We've had issues with people trying to abuse the suspended coffees and incidents where people have abused my staff.

Some people want help, some don't. In all walks of life, some people are nice, some are dicks.

I''m happy to help those who need it and want to accept assistance.

On a side note, I would never ever give to a charity that advertises on TV or sales called me.

halftimer

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #46 on: January 01, 2015, 09:21:12 AM »
I don't usually carry cash, so I honestly answer that when asked. But I do carry extra single use bus tickets for this purpose even though I use a monthly pass.
A month or so ago I was at a bus stop near the hospital waiting with a half dozen other people. I had headphones in but vaguely noticed that a rough looking character on the bench kept calling out to people as they walked by. He briefly talked to 3 or 4 people but they would walk away shaking their heads. Finally I took out my headphones and approached him to see if he needed a bus ticket. Instead I heard him mumble, "Call 911". He had been having seizures after being discharged from the nearby hospital. I did not recognize that his jerky movements and slurred speech were due to that medical condition (I definitely guessed another reason, and I think all those other people did too). The other people waiting at the bus stop finally took out their headphones when the fire truck came and the medical help began.   You just never know what is needed. Sometimes you need to ask.

halftimer

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #47 on: January 01, 2015, 09:29:26 AM »
On the other side, I have been taken advantage of and I have seen scams first hand.  We gave money to a man with a very convincing story who needed gas money to make it to the next province to get home for his child's emergency medical procedure. A week later I saw the same man with the same story in a neighbourhood across town. Hmm, shouldn't you be at their bedside by now?  We have given help in some cases, and not given help in other times. You have to use personal judgement and be careful about setting a precedent so handouts on the street do not become a gravy train to people who may or may not be in need. Help and compassion are never wrong, but they can be abused even more easily than community resources that are in place.

Davids

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #48 on: January 01, 2015, 10:28:56 AM »
I rarely carry cash but I do not give money to homeless people because many are scamming and not really homeless so don't know who really is or isn't so not going to chance it.

rocketpj

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Re: Poll: Do you give to homeless people on the street? Thoughts?
« Reply #49 on: January 01, 2015, 10:38:37 AM »
I rarely see panhandlers anymore since we moved, but our old apartment used to be near the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, which was a pit of despair for many people.  I used to work in policy/planning around homelessness, and specifically with homeless youths, which gave me a particular perspective.  Homeless kids aren't homeless because it's cool, they are usually homeless because the streets are safer than their homes.

I stopped giving money to people individually, but in order to assuage my conscience and support real changes I started giving money directly to services that help people - specifically addiction and mental health treatment services (the vast majority of homeless people start with mental health and develop an addiction once already on the streets).

In most cases, homeless people are operating on a 24 hour timeframe.  Get the next meal, get somewhere warm, get the next bottle/fix.  Longer term is meaningless when you are homeless, though many of them do aspire to a 'real life'.  The fact they don't have the tools or knowledge, or the mental stability, is at least partially the responsibility of the rest of us.  So I give to treatment programs and shelters, especially youth shelters.  I also tend to give to women's shelters in particular, because for some reason our culture just overlooks those.