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Homeless Addictions

Discussion in 'General Substance Abuse Discussion' started by Miaka_M, May 14, 2015.

  1. Miaka_M

    Miaka_M Active Contributor

    Countless times I see people on the streets begging for money, yes its called poverty. But what I don't understand is how these people use the money that you give them? Is it just me or do I see these individuals going into a store to buy some sort of intoxicant such as a cigarette or alcohol? I would expect these individuals to use the money to get something to eat. It makes me wonder how they got in this situation in the first place, could it have been substance abuse? Is it possible that your family could not handle your addiction any more and they left you on the streets?

    With that being said, I vowed to never give money to the homeless again, I would rather buy them food myself and give it to them because I don't want them wasting my money to feed their addiction. Any thoughts?
    imperivm1 likes this.
  2. FuZyOn

    FuZyOn Community Champion

    Of course, I never liked if a homeless man purchased booze with the money that I gave him but a former homeless person told me something that stuck to me to this day.
    "Let a homeless man/woman purchase drugs and alcohol with her money, it is the only way she can forget about her troubles. You don't know what they're going through".
    zplohr likes this.
  3. imperivm1

    imperivm1 Community Champion

    I would like to redirect you to a similar post where we've had a heated discussion regarding this topic. I'm sure there are a lot of points you might agree or disagree upon. In any case, it's worth checking out. I stand firmly behind the thesis that giving money to a hopeless person is not an act of generosity per se. It's making sure he puts the money to good use that's important. Or as you've pointed out, simply giving out food is a much better alternative.

    The link to the discussion:
  4. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    Yes, I also have the same reason why I would rather give food than money. There are chances that they became homeless because of their addiction. But still it should not be generalized since there are still who might need the money for medication or will really use the money to buy for necessities.
  5. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Well, I still behind my stance, too. It is not good to judge others, if you do not want to give your money to another person, that is your choice. But it is not your choice how they spend their money. And if you never been on the street, consider yourself fortunate because it can happen to anyone. But I am wondering, you mention a thesis, have you done a paper on this subject? I think, it would be a fascinating piece of research and quite surprising to become acquainted with the humanness and compassion of people living on the street.
  6. zplohr

    zplohr Member

    I understand the frustration that might come with this situation, but one must understand that life is not black and white. Some people lost everything because of addiction, some for other reasons, some spend money on things you find important, but a homeless person will spend their money on something they need (be it food or drugs). If you are truly concerned about it... ask them. They are people and they probably wouldn't mind talking to you. If they spend their money on drugs that is their business. If you are concerned they are addicts offer them help in the form of a meeting... or someone to talk to. :)
  7. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    People can become homeless for many different reasons, it's not always, and I'd even say in the majority of cases, it's not down to an addiction in the first place.

    I always give change, at least when I'm able, to people that ask for it in the streets. I don't like to judge anybody and I see it as a case of that could have easily have been in that situation.

    If they choose to go and spend that on alcohol or cigarettes, then that's their own free choice. I'm certainly not going to judge them, or dictate what I want them to spend my money on.
  8. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I've seen some videos online featuring stories of various homeless people and I think just like everyone else they all have different stories of how they got to where they are now. As for giving them money as charity, I think both food and money would be good. Personally, I wouldn't mind if they use the money for some relaxation because unless I can personally help them get back on their feet I know I have to understand that they will probably be there for a while. Without a home address and a phone you really can't do much to help yourself. Not that I'm saying it's impossible and they should just have a free pass to just drift by, but I think it's unfair that people just assume that they are all automatically irresponsible deadbeats when most of them really were just unlucky and also it can just as easily happen to anyone of us as well.
  9. Just Another Shallow Man

    Just Another Shallow Man Active Contributor

    That's what I was thinking, personally. A homeless person must certainly been going through a lot. Hell, even the reason they're homeless might have something to do with it. They get drugs to get high, to forget for a while about their problems, just like most drunks and a lot of drug users do. It's really sad to see that they resort to this, but I understand why it happens...
  10. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

    I don't give these people money. I will give them food. Sometimes clothing. I want to be kind but I don't want to fuel any addictions.
  11. CallipygianGamine

    CallipygianGamine Community Champion

    This can be such a touchy issue. I’ll sometimes give spare change, or maybe a dollar, but I don’t like the idea that they’ll turn around and spend it on drugs. However, as others have stated, once the money’s out of my hands, it’s out of my control what they do with it. I can never know for sure if they’re homeless because of an addiction, or they’ve become addicted since being homeless, or if they’re addicted to anything at all. So usually I'd rather do a possible good deed.
  12. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    I stopped giving money to homeless people a long time ago for the same reason, because most of the times those people are addicts and will most likely waste that money on drugs. My grandma had the same brief as me, I remember once there was a homeless person begging from home to home. She gave him some food instead, he was sitting outside eating it.

    Of course, back then doing that kind of things wasn't dangerous at all, unlike it can be now in my country. I feel so terrible for those homeless people so sorry, but it's so hard to know if the money you are giving them will be actually used for food or other things they might desperately need... I feel so sorry for those who are actually desperate to eat, but won't be getting any help soon.

    I've actually observed that very few people still give money to the homeless, when I was little people seemed to be a bit more naive than they are now.
  13. I cannot give money to homeless people in my area because they are scammers. No, I don't mean homeless people who use money for things other than food, but literal scammers...they will tell you their car just broke down in the parking lot and they are stranded and ask for anything you can do to help. An hour later I see them at a different store telling the same story that their car JUST broke down in the parking lot and nobody is helping them.

    That said, I've helped genuine homeless people before and I really feel bad for them. I remember one man was named John, I won't forget it because that was my dad's name. He was out on the street 24-7, he had made a little house out of metal and cardboard behind a gas station. The gas station owner's hated it, but it wasn't their property technically and the person who did own the property didn't care so nothing could be done. I remember it was raining one day and he was on the side of the street and I gave him a ride somewhere. I was 17, so this was awhile ago. I wouldn't do that again, but he was so grateful for the help.
  14. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

    Some of the people scamming are not actually homeless. This is another reason I do not give out many. I offer food or other help. If they are really in need they are usually happy to receive it.
  15. Eileen100

    Eileen100 Member

    I agree about the homeless misusing the funds provided to them on one hand, but on the other I feel that if you feel in heart to give to a particular person then we should do so. I used to give to the homeless all the time and then I stopped for the very same reason. Recently I seen a homeless man at a convenience store and he asked me if I could help with some change for the bus. I told him no, my heart wouldn't let me give him the money; however I did buy him some snacks and a drink from out of the store. I felt that was the proper thing to do it that situation also I feel like it's a case by case basis, you'll know when it's the right person to give to and what you should give if anything.
  16. amethyst

    amethyst Community Champion

    I always give money to the homeless, and I will keep on giving money to them whenever I can. To me it's not important what they do with the money. It's up to them whether they want to buy food with it, alcohol or other substances that numb them. Who am I to judge what a person needs to survive or that helps him/her put an end to his/her life. Living on the streets is hard, and some homeless people believe they have nothing or nobody to live for anymore. They don't want to feel the pain of abandonment and lack of everything. I don't support the use of drugs or alcohol, but I understand that when you have no home, no food, no security, and no hope for a better future, that sometimes you want to forget about all that and just put yourself into a state where, for a while, you don't have to feel the agony of it all.
  17. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

    I think deliberately doing something you know could have bad consequences isn't really helping anybody. That is why I can't justify handing out money. I will always provide food and other items when I can, but not money.
  18. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    For me personally, I prefer to give things rather than straight up cash. When I was living in a city with a pretty large homeless population, I made bags to distribute around Christmas time with a range of things in them - non perishable foods, toiletries, and a whole range of things...they were very well received. I honestly feel kind of awkward and uncomfortable giving out cash so that's part of it too. I wouldn't want to do something that could possibly encourage addiction problems so that weighs on me.
  19. oraclemay

    oraclemay Community Champion

    If you know the person is an addict you should not give them money as you may be contributing to their addiction, even death. You can buy them food. However, if they do not have addictions and are homeless for some other reason, you can give them money. This is why it is important to find out where your money is going and not just give it randomly to anyone. You should take the trouble and make a point of giving in a specific area.