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activebutodd
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13 Jun 2009, 10:53 am

Where I live there are many homeless people and beggars. I find it hard to know what the right thing is to do when they want money, and find it very stressful to be approached.

It makes me feel guilty but generally I don't give because I'm on a really low income too, I can't handle being approached all the time by strangers, and I don't know who really needs it and who will spend it on drugs. Many do. Recently I was approached for change by a woman I know for a fact has a bad drug habit, and I feel bad I didn't give it to her but- it wouldn't help her. It wouldn't get her off the street. I know it would just go on drugs. I've been trying to think of ways I could do something that would actually benefit people like her.

Any thoughts on how to go about that?
Do you get stressed being approached and asked for money?
What do you do when asked?



arielhawksquill
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13 Jun 2009, 10:58 am

I say "Sorry, I can't help you." On a couple of occasions when I was carrying food with me, though, I have given an apple or a donut to a homeless person and they looked very disappointed about it since it wasn't money.



DarrylZero
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13 Jun 2009, 11:00 am

I have a similar issue. Once in a while, if I have extra money (a rarity!) I may give a dollar or two if they don't make me too uncomfortable, but for the most part I just look at them to acknowledge them and shake my head "no" as I keep walking. Most of the time that's enough and they leave me alone.

To ease the guilt somewhat you could try to save a few dollars and donate it to a homeless shelter where it will likely do more good than just handing out money to people on the street.



digger1
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13 Jun 2009, 11:11 am

Just say, "sorry man" and move on or of you can spare the change be a good soul and give him some. You never know, it could actually be used for food and shelter. From what I hear, some shelters actually charge rent.

I remember hearing of a humanities class where, on their way to class the students all passed by a peddler on the sidewalk asking people for change. None of them offered any. They got to class, the beggar was there. Turns out, he was the professor. They all failed that day.



activebutodd
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13 Jun 2009, 11:13 am

Yeah, good ideas. I have given money to the Salvos before, and donate to op shops sometimes but I still feel bad.
It sucks because I don't have a large income and had a hard time finding a place myself! :lol: I wish there was a free rehab or something so the dependant ones could use their money for essentials.

I did give money to one guy, then found out that he scabbed all the time and was into drugs. I hate that. I'm saving to pay for my own medical expenses.

But I'm going to try and find a place to take the dry and canned goods I have. I got them for the bushfire victims, but what happened was they stopped collections of goods before I could donate because they couldn't transport the volume of stuff. I'll have to do that but only when I can because I've got my plate very full with my own stuff atm.



Last edited by activebutodd on 13 Jun 2009, 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

LostAlien
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13 Jun 2009, 11:18 am

I'd get stressed about it too. Though you're right, the money usually won't help them, it could go on drugs or alcohol which wouldn't help them at all. Though sometimes they use it for hostels (rarely), as far as I understand. If they're dissappointed by a food offering then it's possible that they want drugs or alcohol though they could be wanting to sleep in a hostel.

People pretend sometimes and moneywise it's better to give money to shelters or places that they give out food if you're giving out any cash.



digger1
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13 Jun 2009, 11:23 am

yeah, I've been there myself too but never to the point of holding my hand out thank goodness. Been at the homeless shelter one too many times. Not a pleasant experience. Even if it does go toward alcohol, it's a liniment to cope with the stress and trauma of being in their predicament of being homeless in the first place and your pennies dimes and nickles aren't going to put them up at the Ritz Carleton, let's face it.



886
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13 Jun 2009, 12:48 pm

I just lock my door and roll up my window.

They don't generally bother you if you ignore them or don't give them anything.


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13 Jun 2009, 2:24 pm

It doesn't make you a bad person for not giving them money. In fact how do you know they aren't pretending to be homeless? Leave it to the other suckers to give them money. A sucker is born every minute.

I just keep on walking ignoring them and shaking my head when they ask for spare change. I don't look at them and I act like I didn't see them. If I have too much change in my purse, I give it to them to get rid of it. They sure come in handy to get rid of change. :lol: I don't care if I'm a sucker then. I just did it to get rid of the change and I don't care if they are pretending to be homeless or pretending they are in need of money.



I used to feel guilty for not giving them money so I tell my feelings to shut up and I ignore them and then after a while the feeling went away. I am so good at suppressing my feelings. I don't think lot of people have that because they refuse to do it.



sluice
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13 Jun 2009, 2:51 pm

Back when I was living in the city going to school, I would take them to McDs and buy them lunch when I could. I assumed giving them money would contribute to an alcohol or drug problem. It is tough though; I have been held up by people down on their luck and I have seen where it has been done as part of a con. It is best if you give money to only do it in very public places.



LostAlien
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13 Jun 2009, 2:57 pm

Personally, I think if you really want to help people who are on the streets, give money to shelters or places that give out food or those organisations that help people get on their feet in some way. Helping out with time is also good, these places don't have a lot of money to give the help they want to give sometimes and don't have enough people sometimes either.

I'm lucky I've never been in this position (of being homeless) and people can get into this situation so easily.



ZEGH8578
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13 Jun 2009, 3:11 pm

need it OR spend it on drugs?

dude if the guys planning to shoot heroin into his BRAIN im gonna give him that penny.

im gonna HELP HIM GET HEROIN

because not giving him a penny, wont make him quit drugs.
its just a lame approach. they all NEED the money, cus they NEED drugs MORE than they need food.


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wigglyspider
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13 Jun 2009, 6:15 pm

I usually just judge their approach rather than weigh the possibility that they'll spend it on drugs. If they're telling jokes or doing something clever, they're earning the money. If they're shaking a cup at me... come on. That's the best you can think of? No way.

Also, you can carry around like a Power Bar or something and offer that instead. :B If they just want drug money, they won't take it, but if they're actually hungry they will, and it will do them good.


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Justin227
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13 Jun 2009, 6:56 pm

I used to be against giving money to any and all homeless beggers. I always believed that it's a cruel world and some tried harder, went to school and took certain steps so as to not be in that situation. A lot are alcoholics/drug users just looking for that one more. There are definitely better ways to help these people than just giving the money directly to them. However, if you look at the statistics, many are veterans of war. My dad for example is a Vietnam Veteran, and has many physical and psychological problems. I know for a fact that if it were not for my mom "taking care" of him, for lack of a better term, he would be homeless. I'm actually always happy to give money to veterans, if I know they are infact and if I have the money. I once asked an obvious veteran, "what do ya want? Booze? A pint of whatever?" He then told me the price of which ever type of drink he wanted and I gave him exact change. Now, some of you may look at that as enabling and just plain wrong. But, again he fought for us and I honestly believe that that guy should be able to drink as much as he wants for all he's been through.



brothersport
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13 Jun 2009, 6:58 pm

I avoid eye contact, completely ignore them, and try to make myself look as unapproachable and pissed-off as possible -- basically the same way I behave toward the entire human race.