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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. Jasmine2015

    Jasmine2015 Community Champion

    There was a homeless pregnant woman I use to see in my area. By it being winter time I hope she finds shelter. There was one person she approached, most likely for money, and instead they took her into the store to buy her what she wanted. There was also a time I was stopped by a homeless man and I gave him about $2. He claimed he needed it to get on the bus to go to the shelter. I don't know if he ever went but I never caught him buying smokes or a bottle of beer.
  2. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    Many times we look at people and can see if they are in real need or if they are just addicts, but we might be wrong. If someone is asking for food, nothing like giving food instead of money.
  3. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    Well I think it is probably better instead of giving money to buy food for the homeless, because you know what it is being used for. I think however, if you choose to give you should probably give without expectations. You just dont know.
  4. mayasupernova

    mayasupernova Active Contributor



    I like what you wrote here, and where you were heading with this, but, one thing you have to have in mind. People who beg on the streets, in most cases, they are hungry, and thirsty, and utterly poor. Let us just consider they are poor, not like many fakes you can see begging, when on the other hand, they have good house, car, etc.that I can see in my country a lot. But, let us supposed they do not have anything. I agree with you that it would be nice to make some packages like that, food, drinks,etc. But, when it comes to giving them some nice book, or as you said something uplifting, trust me, from my experience, they would not appreciate any of that. They simply do not have the time to think about books, let alone appreciate them. Well,maybe me using the term 'time' just does not do a great deal in trying to explain what I mean, but certainly, what they think about is pure survival. Maybe they will find a book interesting gesture, and flip through the pages, but to keep it, read it over and over, and just have enough appreciation for that, plus find it uplifting..I really doubt that. I know that if I had nothing in the world, no job, no money,etc.and I had to beg, what I would appreciate to be given is a package with clothes, and some food. But, people are different, and after all, maybe giving a book is not a bad idea. Maybe someone will appreciate it. :)
  5. Just Another Shallow Man

    Just Another Shallow Man Active Contributor

    It's really hard to just tell what's with these kinda people. Maybe they do buy some drugs or alcohol, maybe it is a form of escapism for them that helps them forget their current state of homelessness.

    As much as I also would like to think that they're better of saving the money, I also feel that it must be hard to keep that money when you're homeless, the streets are dangerous.

    The homeless situation is one that you and I can barely do much about by giving them a couple bucks. Most of them honestly do not save the money, or get mugged by other homeless even, those tips are only gonna end up going to little things that help them feel temporarily better, which sometimes might be drugs or alcohol. It's kind of a vicious cycle.
  6. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    We never know what is behind a homeless person, but we can always do something to help them, considering we make sure we are not contributing to the eventual addiction.
  7. hwarren

    hwarren Member

    Helping people like this is a noble act, it makes you a good human being. What they choose to do with that is up to them, at least you have done what is right. No, you shouldn't be fueling their addiction but if you don't someone else will and maybe you will be the person that they look at and say, "I'm changing because you helped me." It happens.

    My grandmother always used to say, it's another brick on your house in heaven. Keep that in mind when you walk past someone homeless. They are not all the same, some are desperate for help.
  8. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    Many times a simple gesture can make all the difference in a person's life even more when they are struggling. Instead of passing by indifferently we can try to act where society fails.
  9. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion


    That was my idea for people who did not want to 'risk' giving them money. Ultimately, I think that the best thing people can do for homeless folks is 1)get involved in the activist/political struggle to change the system; 2) give them a lot of money (or a good enough loan that they can get themselves off the street) -- a few bucks here and there will not help much, drop in the bucket and all, like it is usually the case in situations of poverty, but a good amount of money can actually serve to make a difference, as they tested different times, 3) employ them and 4) give them stuff they need.

    I don't know how many times you've talked to homeless people or heard from them, but the thing is, food is something they can get from different places many times (soup kitchens, shelters, dumspter diving, all those people who don't trust homeless folks enough to donate money so they give them crappy sandwiches instead...). Probably not enough, not with enough security, but it's still easier to come by than other products. Socks? Shelters never have enough of them -- and having cold wet socks as a homeless person just sucks. Now, homeless shelters just take new socks. If you have pairs of socks that are as good as new and clean, but not quite new, the best thing you can do is to give it to people who might need it on the street.


    About 'time': homeless people, a lot of them, are bored. Heard about young people who said that when they had to take to the street, the boredom was driving them insane, so they started doing drugs, because then they knew at least the next six hours they could take their minds off their situation, just get rid of that time to not have to live through it. I also had this conversation with this homeless man who explained to me that basically, all he did was walk around because, up to the time the shelter opened, he had nothing to do, so he just walked the city all day long, every day. His experience is far from being unique, from the many stories I've read online and through the FB group 'Invisible People'.

    Some Reddit threat asking others about their experience as homeless people also turned up some interesting result. Many of them mentioned that getting things like a gym subscription or going to the library was key for them to not go far into the deep-end and still keep themselves employable.

    So my 'compromise' idea was that if someone did not want to give homeless people money, then a care package (with some actual fun stuff in it, as well as socks, small blankets and such) would be a better and more thoughtful gift than just buying them a cheap sandwich or giving them apples. Though of course, it's better that people give anything they feel comfortable with than nothing at all. So many people just ignore the homeless entirely because to see them in their space makes them comfortable -- to acknowledge their existence is for some already a big step. But it's not enough. And feeding them is nice -- but then I'd encourage people to ask the homeless person what they'd enjoy to eat every now and then, rather than just pushing at them whatever lunch leftover or cheap options they found. Because as mentioned earlier, homeless people can probably find food -- bread especially in dumpsters -- but they have less of a choice over that. Of course, they're so hungry that many times, they actually eat whatever is available. But isn't it a kinder thing to give them the option to indulge, and not just survive, every now and then? To give them not just what they need, but also what they want?


    I won't go rambling on, I just wanted to explain more into my earlier comment to clarify what I mean and where my head and heart are at!
    mayasupernova likes this.
  10. Ali16

    Ali16 Senior Contributor

    I think that many of them struggle with some addiction. This is why I will rarely give them money. I will go to the store and buy them some food or gloves/hat/war, pajama pants instead of just handing them cash. At way, if they have an addiction I am not helping fuel it but I'm still doing something to help them.
  11. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    There are two reasons why I don't give money many times and one of them is those, I suspect my money would go to the addiction. The other reason is because there are too many people asking for money so I simply cannot give them all.
  12. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    A thought for people in this thread too:

    Just because the poor in our cities are the most visible doesn't mean that you must give to them and not to others. If you are concerned with saving lives and helping people, proximity should not be the only player in your decision -- and indeed, it is actually easier to save lives overseas. For example, giving to foundations against malaria or supporting programs such as GiveDirectly will make a huge difference in poorer countries for less money. Pages like GiveWell evaluate charities to determine if they are good ones (and efficient ones). So if you are concerned in getting the best result for your buck, look into saving lives overseas, too! :)
  13. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    That is very much true, there are many causes that need our help and eventually causes that we don't even know that exist are the ones that we can relate more with and feel more comfortable giving.
  14. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    Yes. I think that it's better that people look inside of themselves and find a few things that they really can pour their convictions into. Malaria; microloans; books for children in Africa or in your country; food against hunger for refugees or for school breakfast... The thing is, some people give money to whoever is the first to ask for it (calling homes or hanging out outside the supermarket), but that doesn't mean that it's the best place to give it to. And for many people, it means that they don't care -- they give it because it's just there and they can get rid of some coins.

    But I think if people find a few things they are passionate about, then they can make a bigger difference because they become 'advocates' for that cause. I'm thinking about people I know who volunteer and speak of it with a rush and a passion; or people who run races to raise money at work; or people who go into "Shave your heads" challenge for cancer fundraising... basically, anyone who cares a lot will inspire others to care to and have a bigger impact, so that'd be great!
  15. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    Many times that only happens when we have passed through a difficult situation, like addiction for example. When we have recovered we can totally relate with it and we are more than willing to help.
  16. HalfBeard

    HalfBeard Active Contributor

    It's sad because while we want to help someone financially at the same time we do not want to enable. Even more sad is the (possibly false) perception that a begger is an addict because of societal labels.
  17. deewanna

    deewanna Senior Contributor

    Most beggers on the street can't really be trusted. I personally don't give money to them, especially those that are not physically challenged. I see no reason why I should help someone who should be working but prefers to be on the street begging. That shows a huge sign of irresponsibility.
  18. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    This is true, we see that the person needs help, but some have transformed that into an art, the art of deceiving and I have become suspicious of them because I don't know where they are going to spend the money.
  19. HalfBeard

    HalfBeard Active Contributor

    Yeah, and then there's that whole other issues of frauds who dress up homeless to scam people into giving them money...
  20. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    Meh, I get that, but I think you'll find this is not limited to the homeless. Tons of people are everywhere trying to fool people out of their money -- some of them quite rich, too. But instead of shutting down our instinct to do good, we should look for better, smarter ways to help is all.