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Do you give money to the homeless?

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musey

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I feel like there has recently been a thread on this topic that you might find interesting, but I can't find it!

I choose to give charitable donations to reputable organizations that, among other things, do help the homeless. I do not hand out money. It is my feeling that if people in that situation are in need of help, they should utilize the resources available to them (food kitchens, shelters, etc.) rather than 'harass' (and it really does get to that level in most of my experience) people on the street. I also live on a very strict budget and do not have much money to spread around, so if it's a choice between donating to a reputable organization OR giving out money to panhandlers, I choose the organization.

I have been 'burned' many times in my life by panhandlers. People feeding BS stories that I, as a much more gullible younger person, bought into... people accepting my gift and walking directly into a liquor store... people throwing food (literally) at me after I give it to them because they "didn't ask for FOOD, [they] asked for MONEY"... etc. It's really hurt my motivation to give.


So, to recap, I do believe in donating to charitable organizations that help the homeless in structured ways, but I am mostly unwilling to hand out money to panhandlers.
 

bee*

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There is one man in town that I usually give money to as he is there all the time, day or night so I know that he is genuine. Otherwise I''d rather give to charities.

Musey-I could have sworn there was a thread on this too. Can''t find it though either.
 

Fleur_de_Lis

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I give to the homeless people I see on the street all the time, as well as several charities. I can certainly spare a few twenties for someone in need. If they choose to use that money for alcohol and/or drugs, what can you do? I''ve done my best by trying to help them. In all honesty, I would feel horrible if someone needed help and I refused them.
 

swingirl

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Date: 4/11/2009 3:27:57 AM
Author: B.H.S
I give to the homeless people I see on the street all the time, as well as several charities. I can certainly spare a few twenties for someone in need. If they choose to use that money for alcohol and/or drugs, what can you do? I''ve done my best by trying to help them. In all honesty, I would feel horrible if someone needed help and I refused them.
$20 can feed at least 4 or 5 people at a shelter. Or it can get one person high for a few hours. I''d rather help them with food, shelter and programs and discourage panhandling.
 

elrohwen

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I agree with the others that I''d rather give money to charity than directly to someone on the street.
 

DivaDiamond007

Brilliant_Rock
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Never. I agree with Musey - most communities have some resources that are available to the poor to have their basic needs met. When I attended church regularly I gave to our parish - which is then given back to the poor in our community.
 

trillionaire

Ideal_Rock
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I rarely carry cash (bad habit), so I never have money to give. I frequently buy food for people, and have never had my food refused. The people that I buy food for a very grateful, and many are asking for food or ''help'' generally. I''ve gone home and cooked for someone before, and took the food back to where he was. I was raised to share my blessings, so if I can afford a dollar or two, I do it. I give to charities as well, but I see that as separate.
 

Octavia

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Unfortunately, in Philly busking is rampant. If I were to give even one dollar to everyone who asked me each day, I''d be broke in a week. And there''s no way to know who really needs it and who doesn''t. Also, as a grad student living on very limited student loan money, I''m acutely aware that what I have isn''t even mine. So no, I don''t give money (except on a handful of very rare occasions that truly seemed to warrant it), but I do sometimes give food if the person is receptive to it (and like musey, I find that doesn''t happen too often), or a bus token if I have an extra one. And even if I had the money, I''d prefer to give in structured ways rather than to individuals.
 

Kaleigh

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When Iived and worked in the city, there was a homeless man I would pass on my way to work. When I made myself a sandwhcih in the morning, often times I would make an extra and give it to him on my way to work. I don''t give money, I''d be scared as I am reaching for my wallet they could grab it and run away. I think giving to charities that help the homeless is best.
 

atroop711

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yes at times I give money to the homeless..if they have a sign that says they''re hungry, I will buy them a sandwich. Many times they appreciate it..once a women told me she didn''t want my damn food...then I knew the money was for something other than food...other times the eat it up ASAP and are very appreciative
 

vespergirl

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 29, 2007
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Food yes, money, usually not. I am not interested in financing a drug or alcohol habit, but I will buy someone a sandwich.
 

elle_chris

Ideal_Rock
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3,156
I live in Manhattan and there''s a ton of homeless people. I give if I don''t think look like drug additcts/alcoholics. I''m sure I''m wrong most of the time but I feel guilty if I don''t give them something at least once in awhile.
 

AprilBaby

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I give my time once a month doing dental work for the homeless.
 

trillionaire

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Thanks for your responses. My question was not totally random. I was having a conversation with a friend about giving to the homeless (I live in NC, and there are not a ton in my area, but there are ''regulars'' in specific places on a daily basis), and I was really appalled as some of the things that she said!

We were in LA in undergrad, and a homeless guy asked her for food or money. She gave him a cheeseburger that she had purchased earlier and not eaten. He asked what it was and thanked her, while telling her that he was lactose intolerant, but that he would be giving it to a friend. This really upset her, and she said it made her wish she could take it back. She said if you are hungry, you will and should eat what you are given. I was really startled that she said this. It seems so arrogant, like "you should take what I give you!" As a person who is sensitive to a number of foods, I felt compassion for the guy. Ketchup, mustard, mayonaise and pickles on a sandwich would make me physically sick, and I told her I wouldn''t be able to eat it either. She said I was not allergic to those things, so it was a preference, and I could get over it if I was hungry. (these things literally make me throw up, and they have all my life).

She also said that she goes to work everyday, and homeless people stand around all day, and they should do something rather than ask for hand outs. I gave up trying to reason with her about how the situation is often pretty complex. Then she said that homeless people with dogs really bother her, because she shouldn''t have to feed the dog too. I suggested that companionship might be nice for someone who was living on the streets, not even accounting for possible warmth and protection. I certainly enjoy snuggling my pooch, and she always notifies me when someone is approaching if I am not paying attention. I also let her know (she''s never owned a dog) that dogs are good at foraging food, and would eat out of the trash. She then says, okay, but why is the dog eating out of the trash, but not the homeless person? I just got no sense of human dignity from our conversation at all. No humanity, no compassion, no sense that homeless people were people who should be treated with respect. I wasn''t even suggesting that she HAD to give them food or money, but I would have liked to have sense that she could look at them as more than sub-human people who don''t deserve companionship, or preferences, or dignity.


I was truly and utterly appalled. I just needed to say that somewhere, so thank you for listening.
 

Italiahaircolor

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
5,184
I am huge into charity...and I always give money to the homeless, or offer a meal. I am blessed to be where I am in my life, and there by the grace of God go me...I am not in charge of judging anyone and I believe firmly in kindness.
 

phoenixgirl

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Am I the only one who''s heard the, "I''m/we''re stuck from out of town and just need $20 for a bus ticket to get back home . . ." spiel . . . from the same person more than once? And I''ve seen a few of our regular panhandlers on their cell phones during their "breaks."

DH and I watched Intervention with Chad Gerlach, a once and again professional cyclist. You should have seen how earnestly he asked people to help him out because he was hungry and how often he got handouts based on his intelligent demeanor and charisma . . . and he just used it for drugs.

I am dubious of people who ask for handouts directly from you rather than getting services from the organizations I support. Those organizations offer real shelter, regular meals, and ways to help them get off the streets. I don''t have the time to do the screening process myself to make sure I''m not just giving Mr. "I just need $5 more for my bus ticket" or Mr. Smooth Talker money for drugs.

But that doesn''t mean I''m not a caring person who believes in humanity, either, and I do give regularly as well as volunteer. I just think it''s the public school teacher in me. My crapola radar is very sensitive.

Case in point: one time I had this horrible mooch neighbor. She always had stories about how she had been unjustly fired from her last job or mistreated by this or that place. She would constantly ask for food and coffee and anything we or other neighbors mentioned having (one time a whole chicken!). She would ask another neighbor out for drinks and every single time she would "forget" her wallet. We also knew she had stopped paying her rent, but her wuss landlord kept believing her excuses. When I researched her court records, I found 20 pages of garnishments of wages and liens, etc.

Well, the Vietnam vet across the way and I were the only ones who didn''t put up with her crap. DH and everyone else was just programmed to be nice as long as she asked nicely. They felt bad saying no. And she knew how to manipulate people. She would accuse of not liking her for any and all reasons, putting us in the position of having to prove we did like her. One time she asked for a ride to the hospital 2 miles away (where she had quite a long list of publicly listed debts) and when I refused, told everyone that I hadn''t helped her when she was having chest pains. Funny that she never mentioned that at the time, that''s what 9-11 is for, and we lived 5 blocks from a different hospital!

Anyway, my belief is that most of the adult men who panhandle in the same place year after year are on drugs and are taking advantage of people''s good graces just like my former neighbor, who, BTW, moved into an apartment provided by this rich suburban church (we live in the city) where she had somehow become their pet project. Wonder how long that lasted! Can''t have been too long because soon she was calling my friend to meet for drinks again . . .
 

neatfreak

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Date: 4/11/2009 10:53:40 PM
Author: phoenixgirl
Am I the only one who's heard the, 'I'm/we're stuck from out of town and just need $20 for a bus ticket to get back home . . .' spiel . . . from the same person more than once? And I've seen a few of our regular panhandlers on their cell phones during their 'breaks.'
No you are not the only one at all. There are 2 people (a man and a woman) who tell tourists these lines ALL DAY LONG in front of the Powell St. Station (BART) in San Francisco. It's comical if you see them there everyday lying-but I feel badly for the people who buy their stories.

That being said there are many TRULY homeless and needy people whom I do help-but not with cash handouts on the street. I donate time, money, and other items (for example just this morning I dropped off two huge boxes of my twin babies' outgrown newborn clothing to a program helping new moms to get off the streets) but I won't give cash on the street. If someone says they are hungry though I will buy/give them food.
 

Rhea

Ideal_Rock
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I don't give money or food to people on the street and am not at a place in my life where I donate to charities regularly. I work for a homelessness charity. I think money is best given to charities to help even though lots of that money does go for salaries and admin costs. I know the people I work with are not necessarily representative of all homeless people, but working with them I am now less likely to give money to people on the streets.

I do give money to people who perform regardless if I think they are homeless or not. Street performing is a whole different ball game to me.
 

Tuckins1

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Apr 13, 2008
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8,614
I don''t usually give people money. If I happen to have some food on me, then I will give it to them. (I''m not usually in an area that has homeless people when i''m going out to eat.) I have however gone to burger king to get food for a man who was rummaging through a garbage can outside my pharmacy. He was a LONG way from the city, and all he said was "i''m hungry".
 

icekid

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I do not give money to people on the street, usually. It puts me at risk of getting mugged later, IMO. It seems to me that my money will be better used going to a charity than someone who will use it to buy drugs.
 

jcarlylew

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Date: 4/11/2009 11:15:55 PM
Author: neatfreak
Date: 4/11/2009 10:53:40 PM

Author: phoenixgirl

Am I the only one who's heard the, 'I'm/we're stuck from out of town and just need $20 for a bus ticket to get back home . . .' spiel . . . from the same person more than once? And I've seen a few of our regular panhandlers on their cell phones during their 'breaks.'

No you are not the only one at all. There are 2 people (a man and a woman) who tell tourists these lines ALL DAY LONG in front of the Powell St. Station (BART) in San Francisco. It's comical if you see them there everyday lying-but I feel badly for the people who buy their stories.


That being said there are many TRULY homeless and needy people whom I do help-but not with cash handouts on the street. I donate time, money, and other items (for example just this morning I dropped off two huge boxes of my twin babies' outgrown newborn clothing to a program helping new moms to get off the streets) but I won't give cash on the street. If someone says they are hungry though I will buy/give them food.
we have the "out of gas" guy...every weekend. odd, he must have a gas guzzler!!

Through my church growing up, and volunteering for multiple services, i just find it hard to give someone money right away. I point them to the local shelter, and offer to buy them a meal. I have actually had food thrown back at me. Trillionaire, while your friend came across horribly rude about the whole situation, i guess in a small sense i can understand what she means. When someone asks you for a "donation" only to have it thrown back at you, it really does put a bad taste in your mouth for helping out again.
But then again, there are those who are truly greatfull for whatever they can get. I gave a guy a box (big, as in wholesale) of stale crackers (otherwards they would have been thrown away), told him they were stale and he just looked at me, and said "i know you're not supposed to do this, so thank you" (i work at a catering company).

So i help out by continuing to donate to charities, shop at goodwill/salvation army, work at the Y and eat a restaurants like FareStart (it takes people off the streets and trains them to work in the food industry, graduating with a semi degree).

sorry if the post is a bit garble - pain meds
 

jcarlylew

Ideal_Rock
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Date: 4/11/2009 3:03:55 AM
Author: musey
I feel like there has recently been a thread on this topic that you might find interesting, but I can''t find it!


I choose to give charitable donations to reputable organizations that, among other things, do help the homeless. I do not hand out money. It is my feeling that if people in that situation are in need of help, they should utilize the resources available to them (food kitchens, shelters, etc.) rather than ''harass'' (and it really does get to that level in most of my experience) people on the street. I also live on a very strict budget and do not have much money to spread around, so if it''s a choice between donating to a reputable organization OR giving out money to panhandlers, I choose the organization.


I have been ''burned'' many times in my life by panhandlers. People feeding BS stories that I, as a much more gullible younger person, bought into... people accepting my gift and walking directly into a liquor store... people throwing food (literally) at me after I give it to them because they ''didn''t ask for FOOD, [they] asked for MONEY''... etc. It''s really hurt my motivation to give.



So, to recap, I do believe in donating to charitable organizations that help the homeless in structured ways, but I am mostly unwilling to hand out money to panhandlers.
musey i agree with you 100% !!
 

scarleta

Brilliant_Rock
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Feb 25, 2006
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1,572
Used to be very generous to them and even took them out for lunch on occasion or bought them burger or whatever they wished to eat.
I stopped doing anything for them because once on a visit to USA off the highway went for a mini break and was approached by a man who had a board explaining he could not speak , or hear but was in dire need to get home as his car broke down and needed to sell his watch to get some cash for a flight back home.I was really feeling sorry for him and quickly reached for my wallet.I only had $20 bills so I gave him one.
He was very pleasantly surprised and thanked me for it. Then he "remembered " that he was supposed not to be able to speak so he run away very fast.
i had few more interesting stories but must run to work now. But no I don''t give them anything any longer.
 

MonkeyPie

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 23, 2008
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6,059
A couple years ago I watched a local news network put a person dressed to look homeless on a popular corner with a sign. They made almost $600 dollars that day for just standing there. (They turned around and donated the money they made since there was no way to return it.) Ever since then, I realized that anybody with ratty clothes and a cardboard sign can steal my money and not have to work, so I don''t give money to homeless people ever.

What I hate is being approached for money in a parking lot. And it''s always the same stories. "My baby needs diapers, I''m trying to get home to my sick mother, blah blah blah..." Yeah, right. Take your stories elsewhere, pal. I work hard for my money and refuse to give it to a moocher. Go get a job.

Jeez I sound harsh. But it''s honest.
 

partgypsy

Ideal_Rock
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I also don''t carry cash with me, and being a woman don''t feel like pulliing out my wallet to give someone cash on the street. Yes, many people out there will use the money for drugs/alcohol, but there are also alot of people out there who need help. So the money I''d hypothetically give to people on the street I instead have it taken out of my paycheck for the NC foodbank. Also if I''m with my husband, and a person asks us for money for something (phone call, food, etc) we will often offer that thing instead of money. About a quarter of the time the person will take us up, but most the time they decline and walk off.
 
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