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Sharing Or Enabling?

Mother Dragon

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It seems there are street people everywhere, most bearing signs "Will work for food" or "Hungry. Please help." Sometimes when you offer them a freshly-bought burger or sandwich, they accept it and feed it to their pitiful-looking dog as soon as you've gone. Then you see many of these same people going into a liquor store or getting into a nice car.

So, do you give them money? Is it helping them or enabling them?

I used to, but I don't any more. I feel I'm either being bilked or enabling them.
 

Jcatbird

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I go by the individual. In winter there was a young man playing a guitar for money. He had no shoes on. His feet were blue. I didn’t give him money but I stopped to talk to him. His shoes had gotten soaked in the rainfall we had just had. He pointed out where he had put them in the sun to try and dry them. I went inside the store and got him a pair of socks and inexpensive pair of shoes. Bilked? Maybe. At least he was doing something to earn money instead of just asking for it. He wouldn’t have made it far like he was. I had a chance to know a homeless man quite well. I worked in a city and early mornings on the weekend I often ran into unsavory types. It took me awhile to understand but I finally noticed a man a block from me was running interference with these drunks and hoodlums. He was protecting me and my little daughter. Over the next year I started talking to him and learned his story. At 61 he had gotten sick, lost his job from missing too many days and been unable to pay rent. Evicted ,he heard that there was work in our city and managed to travel 150 miles in a truck of others looking for work. No work was here. He was stuck on the streets. I discovered him to be honorable and hardworking. Over the next two years I did what I could to help him. He couldn’t even stay in a shelter without ID. With no money, no way to get an ID. I paid him to help me unload each week. Over time I got other shopkeepers to give him small jobs for food. Eventually I discovered that a ticket to his remaining family was only 20 by bus! He had never asked for anything. If I had not asked, I would never have known. At 63, I sent him home to family. Afterwards I missed his protection each weekend. I missed him. He was a good man who fell between the cracks. The exception to the rule but I am grateful I noticed. I hate to think what would have happened as he got older out there.
 

Jcatbird

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V verna davies Thank you. I’m not sure ho helped whom. ;)It May have been a rare oportunity. I’m just glad I worked up the nerve to talk to him and thank him
that first time. Funny how we never know who may cross our path in life. I know he helped to keep us safe those first months after I started that job. An unexpected quardian angel. I hope, wherever he is now, he knows I still think of him.
 

Maria Bayote

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I am a softie for seniors. Whenever I see homeless elderly men or women begging for money, I just have to stop and give whatever I can from my wallet. One time I bought packs of bread, water and a juice and gave to an elderly half blind woman outside a grocery store near our rented house. She was always there when I passed, and I told my kids to also do the same thing I did as I was about to come back to my work country that time.
 

JamesCalifornia

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I go by the individual.
:yeah:
~ In Los Angeles you see everything... I learned by experience. Once I offered a street person a free meal at the hamburger cafe he was loitering in front of. "I'm a vegetarian" was his reply. Another time I purchased a chicken dinner for a man. Driving away I watched him in my car mirror dump it in the trash. :doh:´
Stray/abandoned animals are easy to help and much more rewarding. People are too complicated.
 

Tik cat's mum

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I don't give cash to beggars but if I see someone selling the big issue I will buy it. I would rather give donations to charities like shelter that way you know the money isn't being spent on drugs or alcohol. At least the issue sellers are trying to help themselves.
 

Antonio65

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Another time I purchased a chicken dinner for a man. Driving away I watched him in my car mirror dump it in the trash. :doh:´
Stray/abandoned animals are easy to help and much more rewarding. People are too complicated.
There was a time when a young man from Nigeria was daily begging outside our local supermarket.
Every now and then I would leave the small change to him. He was a lovely person, always blessing everybody, always happy to see me and some others.
On a day, while I was walking into the store, I asked him if he needed anything from the shelves, "No, thanks!" was his reply.
On a very hot day I bought him a snack and a bottle of a cold drink. Well, while I was leaving I saw him put both items aside, as he wasn't interested.
I understood he was interested in money only.
That was the last time I helped him.

Yes, helping stray animals is much more rewarding and heart-warming!
 

Winchester

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We don't have much in the way of street people around here, or, if we do, they're pretty well hidden. Usually around the holidays, though, at mall intersections, there will be people, usually men, but sometimes women, holding up signs that say "Out of work" or "Can't find a job". Do I give them money? No.

But like most people, I'll give them a lunch or something. Sandwich and fries. If they eat it fine; if they throw it out, well, I tried.

I mentioned this before: Several years ago, there was a man who lived under a local underpass. I don't know how long he was there, but he eventually became noticed by people. They took food to him, they gave him money. Then it got to the newspapers. And people were trying to persuade him to go to a shelter, they were trying to help him find a job. And, then? He was gone. Nobody knew where he went. But evidently, he liked his life the way it was. And he didn't really want any help. When it got to be too much for him, he left.

I've read about people in mall parking lots, that they ask for money "to get back home on the bus" or whatever reasons they have. At the end of the day, they walk over to their new car and leave. It's their "day at work". That's what they do and that's how they earn a living.
 

MoochNNoodles

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He wasn't homeless (that I could tell) but I have helped someone get a bus ticket. We don't have the best public transportation around here. He was on his bike trying to go a good distance and had gotten half way there. It would have been about 90 minutes by car. He only needed a few more dollars for the fare; so I gave him enough in change. I would have been disappointed if I'd caught him in a lie; but then again you could call it a good-deed seed. It'll come back to you whether they waste it or not.

There is one corner where people sit on the weekends. Other than that it's not very obvious around here. But I know a few people who work with the local shelters we have. So I know people are out there in need; but we have several groups working to help people including getting them back to work. Sometimes they aren't managed the best. But its something.

I am careful about giving anywhere when I do; including charities. Especially if I'm out alone with my kids. Some people are really good at conning others. I just figure that we should use discretion. If something doesn't feel right; you're probably right. Why should people in legitimate need suffer because of others?
 

Kieka

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My area has a "problem" with homeless. I know there are those with legitimate reasons for being homeless that just related to bad luck or circumstances. But I seem to run into the drug addicts and unmedicated mental illness group. I have family who are in group homes for serious mental issues, including two who have never worked a day in their lives, so I know help for them is out there. I also know where I live does have services and support for those who want to get off the streets. But we have a large population who live in the local river bed (a dry most of the year but floods once a year type).

When I see constant posts (with video) of strung out people breaking into cars and homes. Or see them walking into traffic without regard. Or find needles in the playground after they've spent the night there.... I lean more towards the enabling. My personal feeling is I will gladly buy a meal or bus ticket or goods if the person asks and isn't doing so in a threatening way. I usually box up leftovers when I am downtown and leave them with someone I pass on my way to the car. But I won't give money at all.
 

Willowy

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There aren't a lot of homeless people here. Too cold, too hot, too rainy, too many bugs. They go somewhere nicer as soon as they can afford a ticket out of here. I like to think I'd stock up on $5 McDonald's gift cards to give out if there were people on the streets.

During the summers there's a couple who sit by the road at the Walmart parking lot, with a sign that says "give to a veteran". They have a nice camper. The newspaper interviewed them and found out that's how they make their living, by going around to different Walmarts and sitting with a sign. They get $60,000 a year doing that! To be fair, their sign doesn't say they're in need or anything like that, just "give to a veteran", so they aren't exactly being dishonest. Just. . .running their own charity I guess. But still. I don't even make that much. Obviously that's out of the norm, but it does show you have to pay attention to their circumstances, if you want your money to go to someone in actual need.

My mom is a real sucker for a sob story, and tends to strike up conversations with strangers. She has bought several young people a meal and bus ticket to wherever they needed/wanted to go (the local McDonalds is the bus station, so any time she goes to get the grandkids a burger, there's a chance she'll meet someone with a story). She doesn't give cash, although maybe they can get the ticket refunded, idk. I don't talk to strangers so this has never happened to me. I swear she has a magnet on her for hard-luck stories.
 

Kieka

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During the summers there's a couple who sit by the road at the Walmart parking lot, with a sign that says "give to a veteran". They have a nice camper. The newspaper interviewed them and found out that's how they make their living, by going around to different Walmarts and sitting with a sign. They get $60,000 a year doing that! To be fair, their sign doesn't say they're in need or anything like that, just "give to a veteran", so they aren't exactly being dishonest. Just. . .running their own charity I guess. But still. I don't even make that much. Obviously that's out of the norm, but it does show you have to pay attention to their circumstances, if you want your money to go to someone in actual need.
That happens around here too. I found this blog post:
How Much Do Panhandlers Make? - HomelessAdvice.com

I had a college professor who did her field research on homeless communities. She said she doesn't give cash after basically living with them for a year during her study period. Interesting correlation thought was that homeless populations generally follow the hunter-gatherer model. The men "hunt" by panhandling or petty theft. The women "gather" by dumpster diving and looking for resources out of sight.

Our population in the riverbed want to be there. Animal services goes down there to do free spay and neuter and shots for their pets. Food services takes meals down periodically. Some of them have trailers or tents set up. During the holidays the ones who can will play instruments and get money. I know there was one guy who said he made enough during the holiday festival to pay for the rest of the year. He got sponsored by a local church who fundraised for glasses and a new trailer for him; someone volunteered to let him set up his trailer at the end of their property. He ended up back in the river bottom within four months because "that was home".
 

Willow's Mom

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My area also has a problem with lack of affordable housing and gentrification. A lot of Nam vets came here because land was cheap and they couldn't afford to live anywhere else. They are being driven off their farms. There is no work in the cities for their kids.

When "Real Estate" is considered a clever way for investors to make money off of other people's misfortune and food and housing are not considered basic human rights, I do what I can to avoid enabling the likes of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, and other multimillionaires.
 

Willowy

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He ended up back in the river bottom within four months because "that was home".
There's a lot of that. Everybody needs a community and that's not what modern life is good at providing.

There was a guy in the town my parents live in who lived under a bridge outside city limits. He had everything he needed to live rough, and had enough money to go to Walmart and buy groceries. The cops made him stay at a hotel when it got below zero. Social Services actually set him up with an apartment but he couldn't live with so many other people because of PTSD. I wish there were more we could do for someone like that. He's not there anymore and I never heard what happened to him, so I assumed he moved on to another bridge.
 

susanm9006

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For the most part I don’t but have offered on numerous occasions to follow them to a restaurant and purchase their meal. Most have declined, even if the fast food was very very close. I do think most beggars are either scammers or looking for drug money.
 
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