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Do you think most of the people who hold signs up for financial help are struggling with addiction?

Discussion in 'General Substance Abuse Discussion' started by frogsandlegos, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. stariie

    stariie Community Champion

    Whew!! Really, really hot in here MrsJones:D.

    It's very entertaining though... especially because I used to be homeless.
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  2. imperivm1

    imperivm1 Community Champion

    I'm all for care packages. At least they show we actually care and that we don't just hand out money to get the homeless off our hair. Now this is more thoughtful, you see. Hell, even buying a slice of pizza is more beneficial to those in distress than giving them your spare change. I think you're beginning to appreciate my way of thinking. By the way, as I'm typing this comment, there is this guy on TV, John Paler (a youtuber apparently) who gives a homeless guy $100 and then secretly follows him to make sure he doesn't waste it all on booze. You'd be surprised at what happens in the end. I still can't believe how conveniently he popped up on the screen while we're discussing the exact same topic he is. Perhaps it's a sign to check his video out.
  3. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Oh, I agree. this conversation has come up in my household on several occasions. I have given food on different occasion, but it is the context and situation that I personally feel comfortable doing. For example, to earn a little extra money, I use to go work at those work today pay today job sites. You get to learn very quickly who is living on the streets and who is just trying to earn a little extra quick cash to pay an immediate bill. I have brought along extra sandwiches to give away because often times the homeless, don't have a lunch. I have been going down the road with a bag of burgers and and have handed some out to the homeless on the corner. But I also give cash. it is just my personal choice. I say to each his own, but judging can be dangerous, and I have to catching myself almost every day backtracking with my misjudgments. I have to say, money for a gym membership is something I never thought about and really dig the idea.
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  4. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    Wow, this is interesting. Really makes me wonder extra since in the Dancing thread, you mention you would rather not walk at night or be outside at night.

    and @imperivm1 , I still hold to the point that money is a very important advantage to have for someone who plans to get *out* of the street, vs just trying to survive in it. I've seen the vid about giving money to an homeless (actually, I think I saw more than one over the years).

    But to also give background on where my thoughts come from, I just once appreciated this Ted Talk about ways of donating to the poor (here, it's more about whether we should send money direct to poor people abroad for them to decide what to do with, or "invest in charities" who would "know better how to use it"). It's a good talk:

    And @pineywood , that's pretty awesome! I mean, even in cases where your coworkers would not be "in need", getting burgers like this would probably make anyone happy after hard work :)
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  5. stariie

    stariie Community Champion

    I like what you're saying here, about misjudging.

    The problem with most people who discuss "the homeless" is that they have never been homeless themselves, and therefore tend to "judge" situations that they know nothing about.
    They assume. Sometimes correctly, sometimes incorrectly.

    The homeless thing, I've been there, done that, for 2 1/2 years with my young son, but we were never "on the street".
    We were in shelters or motels the entire time. So although I can speak on the subject more knowledgeably than most, I don't even "go there" when discussing the plight that is faced by many homeless people who are on the street.
    I will say this though, I met a lot of homeless people in those years, and none of them, not one, was homeless because they didn't have enough food. It was money they needed. People are homeless because they lack money, not because they lack food.

    Why they lack money is where the stories/patterns get interesting.

    That being said...

    It's good that you choose to give cash sometimes. Cash can do many things that food cannot. But food is cool too.
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  6. stariie

    stariie Community Champion

    No, the comment about my not liking to be outside at night had nothing to do with my being homeless at one time. As a matter of fact, ironically enough, when I was homeless, that was when it felt the safest to be outside at night because I knew so many people to hang out with, and hang out we did:).

    There was a strong sense of community that was present amongst we (us?) that lived in shelters.
    We had great fun, we hung out, played together, fought together, we were a "family", dysfunctional as it was.

    Of all the common denominators that I found when looking at the social aspects of homeless people, the one that seemed most prevalent was that most of us had some type of challenges that had to do with a chronic, on-going, long-standing, lack of support from our families.

    Think about it. Why do people end up homeless? Because they have nowhere to go.
    So that begs the question, why can't you live with family??

    Some people didn't have any family, some people had family members who were addicts and therefore were not present to "parent" the homeless person. Some people had family who were very poor financially. Bottom-line, lack of a strong support system.

    In my particular case, my support system was strong, and I have a lot of family, but, long-story short, I didn't want to move to where they are, under the conditions that they set forth.
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  7. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    That's cool to hear -- it's interesting because a lot of the news and articles, essay and "Invisible People" shared articles I see talk about how dangerous shelters can be, especially to women, and how people are afraid of being robbed or assaulted in the washrooms or toilets. But it seems like the few people I know who actually spent nights in shelters have a different version of it. Makes me wonder if it's about location making a difference, or if the rumors get bigger than the facts, or if some people are just lucky or unlucky.

    But yeah, my boyfriend who hung out in shelters and with homeless people when he emigrated told me that homeless people he met were amongst the most generous, who shared as soon as they had something with others in need and who were just really nice. Of course, he also said that the homeless on crack would attack you to get money for their next dose if you were not careful, so there is no generalizing the positive traits either. XD We're all human.
    stariie likes this.
  8. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Well, I hear you loud and clear. Been there done that, too. When you fall on financial hardship and get evicted from a home, no one want to trust and rent a house to you. Never realized people lived in hotels, until we ended up there for seven months. Not something, I like to relive, but I will throw it out there. It has been years ago, and time has healed these wound, but you never forget.

    And, true story, we were in a homeless shelter for families for a week and got kicked out because a worker smelled weed, and blamed it on me., when in fact it was someone else, a known user, placed in the facility to try and get clean. Life can be a roller coaster, sometimes.

    I will share this to give others, another perspective.
    One time my son asked me, what did he do to deserve this path in life. It broke my heart. But, nowadays, he can look back on those times and realize he is the stronger and wiser person for experiencing those time. We don't judge others on the street. He is proud to have beat all the statistic out there about low income families with kids in high risk situations, not falling into a repeat pattern or choosing the wrong path in life. My daughter on the other hand, has some learning to do, but she is slowly, but surely making it!

    So, for those judging others on the street about their life situations, be careful. Not everyone is addicted to drugs or alcohol. You would be surprised how many people have this happen to them.
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  9. stariie

    stariie Community Champion

    Very true about some homeless people being the most generous, but I have found that--that type
    of thing (extreme generosity) is prevalent with a lot of poor people, especially among certain ethnic groups.
    They know how to "do" poor, they don't let poor "do" them.

    But, as you said, there is no generalizing, there are good and bad apples in all of the bushels, one just has to know how to pay attention. Red flags, gut feelings, all those come in handy when you are dealing with anybody in any circumstance.

    As I told you, I like in (close by) Silicon Valley, so there's that when it comes to homeless shelters and the like.
    But they are what you make them. The shelters that my son and I were in had their pros and cons. I knew I couldn't control other people, or the shelters themselves, but I knew that I could control our space. I cleaned our rooms, and decorated:D them, whether in shelters or in motels. Made sure we had good food.

    My son told me that I have a knack for making anywhere seem like home (Awww:)).
    One of my favorite people on the planet is Martha Stewart (LOVE her!!!!!) so, lol!
    I guess you can only imagine what my homeless experience was like.

    Yes, there was danger, drugs, heartache and frustration:mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:,
    but there was also hope, inspiration, motivation, lots of laughs, and a strong sense of community.
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  10. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    This thread turned to such a positive note now, makes me happy about it. :) I think it's nice that good parents will not let their kids feel poor: I've heard many times people talking about how their parents were always in bad moods and even sounded like they regretted ever getting the financial burden of kids. You guys did good. :)
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  11. kjonesm1

    kjonesm1 Community Champion

    I give money to anybody on the street that asks. If I have it I am willing to share. I try not to think about what they are going to use it for, but always hope they are trying to do something to improve their situation with it. I feel that if I am going to give I should give freely without judgement.
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  12. E.Mil

    E.Mil Community Champion

    I don't believe that all people who hold up signs for help are struggling with addiction. There are some who truly need help and then there are people who do struggle with addiction and will take the money to buy drugs and alcohol. I don't want to support anyone's addiction but sometimes you never really know what the person is going to do with the money. I do prefer to buy food or provide clothing because I don't really know, but I do sometimes give money instead and if they use it in the wrong way, I know I tried to help someone. You can't control people's actions.
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  13. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I think maybe back in the day there were more addicts in this situation, but the world has changed a lot, and people who live paycheck to paycheck are finding themselves in desperate circumstances. I think that the homeless population here in Arizona is very diverse. Yes, there are many addicts and people who have made bad choices, but there are also many people who have found themselves in a string of bad luck and could not pull themselves out of their troubles.
    stariie likes this.
  14. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    It's really important to keep our kindness in check. This is not to say you should avoid helping people. My point is between giving money to vice-driven people and sending them to rehab, the latter approach is more helpful in my opinion. Giving money will never ever be just. Some will only get worse, sinking deep into their vices. Therefore, help in the most effective way possible.
  15. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Community Champion

    Yes, it's possible that those people asking for money are kind of an addict.

    It happened to me as well. Homeless kids came towards me and begged for money. Eventually, I gave them few coins, and the next moment I've seen them, they were inhaling rugby (solvent) in the streets. So, every time a person approach me to ask for money, I'd just buy them food instead of giving them money.
  16. thomas pendrake

    thomas pendrake Active Contributor

    I realize that many people do not understand that people who smoke cigarettes are self-medicating against depression. Nicotine stimulates portions of the brain and has beneficial effects. Cigarettes also contain toxic substances which do not have any positive benefits, and the most damaging toxins come from the fertilizers, which contain high levels of Uranium.
    Homeless people are generally suffering from poverty, and many have psychological issues which are being ignored, largely as a result of actions of Ronald Regan. The right wing has a tendency to see poverty as a crime, a 19th century attitude. When you see that homeless person, consider Matthew 25:31ff, which tells us that the homeless person is, in fact, Jesus. Perhaps Jesus needs an occasional cigarette.
  17. thomas pendrake

    thomas pendrake Active Contributor

    Sweets are not harmless, and probably just as life-threatening as cigarettes. Alcohol is a problem, but we should never forget that Jesus and the Apostles drank wine. I have run a personal street ministry, and know how difficult dealing with street people can be, but the thing that they most need from us is Love. But we don't just say "bless you" and send them on their way. It helps to have Jesus in your heart when dealing with His children. If you only understand Jesus as a loving teacher that's fine: Add Ghandi and Buddah to the mix (Mohammed would tell you that Jesus is the Messiah and you should follow his teachings).
  18. gracer

    gracer Community Champion

    These people are really homeless and they really don't have money to even buy a decent meal. Some of them beg because they're really hungry while some beg because of other reasons. In my country, there are many young boys and girls who use the money they get from begging in abusing a substance which is intended to be a strong adhesive. It's fairly cheap for them to afford buying. It can also be bought just about everywhere, there's no regulation when it comes to the way it is being sold. The thing that makes me emotional about it is their reason for buying it. These children buy this substance because it helps them forget (at least for awhile) that they're hungry.
  19. thomas pendrake

    thomas pendrake Active Contributor

    I should point out that, here in America, most people holding up those signs make good money, usually more than they could with a regular job. I understand that it is common to make between $100 and $200 per day, depending on location. Many of them have a decent apartment and a regular life. The messed up addicts are stumbling around with their hands out, looking very much like what they are. They tend to make very little.
  20. stariie

    stariie Community Champion

    See, my thing is, I've been poor, but that is because I made myself poor (I definitely wasn't raised or born that way) due to bad financial decisions and just pure ignorance really, of how money works.

    That being said, I think (I know!) that the mindset that one has about things is the difference between feeling poor or feeling temporarily out of money. There's a difference. You see??

    My son and I are still financially challenged, but that is because I have to do my job better as a parent and things will be much better. I'm spoiled, meaning
    I suffer from the malady of growing up without much struggle (compared to some, although I had my challenges, believe me).

    When one grows up relatively easy, and then is cast out into the real world, it is an awakening:eek: to be sure.
    It takes some of us longer than others to get our grip and right our ship.

    I'm getting there though:)... sometimes mentally kicking and screaming all the way,
    "I want my mama to take care of me, I want THOSE days back:D:rolleyes::rolleyes:!!!!!!!"

    One must grow up though.
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