questionshave you given money to homeless people? i'm not…


Living in NYC, these are the "typical" homeless people I've seen:

1. Sitting on the sidewalk holding a sign
2. Roaming around the street with their shopping cart/bags/etc
3. Sitting in a subway station
4. Sleeping
5. Going from cabin to cabin on the subway asking for $

I donate to 1 and 5 when I have some spare change. I don't dare go near the rest.


I have. While on vacation in Chicago. I also just moved to a larger city and we gave a homeless man some food as well.


I used to until I discovered that due to the alcohol consumption factor, a great many do not buy food with the money. I have offered to go with them into a food store, and they have declined. I therefore support charities that feed and clothe the homeless, and just yesterday donated a large bag of soaps, toothbrushes, etc. that I had accumulated from trips and meetings where there have been health related handouts. Sadly, so many people who are homeless do not have the ability to hold a job, even if they can find one. There is a lot of chemical dependency as well as illness both mental and physical out there. Very sad indeed.


Just cigarettes (back when I smoked). I don't know why I feel cigarettes are acceptable to give but not anything else. And, my uncle was homeless living in a tent for over ten years. I suppose that should make me more sympathetic. Although, it isn't really lack of sympathy that makes me feel that handouts are ultimately a bad thing. Let the down-voting begin!


I usually prefer to give food rather than money. Typically I have some sort of food in my car, something I didn't eat at lunch, or packed just in case. One time I had a whole lunch (peanut butter crackers, string cheese, clementines) and there was a lady in the middle of the road with a sign saying she had 3 kids and needed help. I offered her all the items, and she took the crackers and clementines, but said "I don't eat no string cheese." You know what, that's fine, maybe you don't eat cheese or are allergic or something...but if you really have 3 kids, won't one of them eat the cheese? Made me doubt her story. Anyway, I figure if someone is really homeless, they can always use food, and then in that case can't spend it on alcohol, cigarettes, whatever like they could if you gave money.


@benyust2: You get an up-vote from me because of your honesty. I might not agree with you but you have your reasons and I accept them.

Btw...I'm glad to know you've stopped smoking.


There is a gentleman that always hits me up in the parking lot of a restaurant that is very near my work. Always gives me the same story about a hardship that happened the night before (got beat up in a nearby park the night before). For two years now. I bought him a cheeseburger a couple of times (didn't offer to or tell him in advance that was what I was doing) but he always acted disgusted / disappointed (maybe he wanted chicken?). So I stopped. Other than that, nope. My grandma grew up in Puerto Rico and according to her at the time, there were homeless people that would mutilate their children, presumably so that people would feel sorry for them and donate. I can't comment as to the accuracy of that but it's always stuck in the back of my mind. When there are so many charities that could put great use to your money, I'd suggest that route. Not to mention that going with a legitimate NPO you know that your cash isn't going toward someone's Kamkatcha fund.


I have provided housing and limited employment several times to people and families that are homeless. All of these folks have had Pug dogs, so that was probably their way in for me. I have never simply given money to any of them, but I have opened my home to them.


@nortonsark: To go to that extent is great. I commend you for it.


I'm not a big eater, so I usually have leftovers when I go out to eat. When I'm not going straight home I actually go out of my way to find someone homeless to give them to.


Not usually cash, although while in Hong Kong while it was still owned by England, I'd hand out dollars.

Never to younger people. And I gave up trying to help completely when one refused an extra sandwich.

The last one I gave cash to was a man named Daniel, who appeared to be in his late twenties. He needed $40 for his bipolar meds, and I gave it to him - and skipped lunch that day because of it. It might have been a lie, but I have a weakness for bipolars - especially ones who are afraid of not having their meds.


My daughter works at a shelter for homeless women that have mental illness. She has told me that it is preferable to not give the homeless money since many of them do use the money irresponsibly. The offer of food is a good way to help them, but as some have noticed, many times turned down.


I usually hand over a dollar.
True story:
During the last presidential election, on a highway exit ramp I came across a panhandler holding a sign "GIVE ME A DOLLAR OR I'LL VOTE FOR MCCAIN".
I gave him a dollar.
As I drove away I noticed another sign leaning against a pole "GIVE ME A DOLLAR OR I'LL VOTE FOR OBAMA".



@mrsbeny: That is true. We saw it all over europe and the middle east. If you mutilate your child they can beg more "effectively". It's truly sad. I once actually had a woman offer to sell me her child. I was 22 and had gone to study in Cairo. My friend interpreted what she was saying to me. I was horrified until my friend explained that to her she was offering her son a better life with the "rich" white American woman. I guess she thought it was better than growing up on the street.
And I have sometimes given money or food. Normally when I've had a really bad day at work and then I see an older person begging I feel guilty for bitching about my job. I'll usually do a granola bar and a dollar. If I have an unopened bottle of water in my car I'll hand that off too (I lived in the desert- water is precious) Then I've also see the flip-side. The grungy guy hopping out of the Mercedes to take up his "spot" at the intersection..Sigh- you just can't win. And I always donate to charity.


I prefer to donate to charitable organizations which help the poor and homeless. I feel that it's better to give to organizations which better understand the issues and are better able to really help people. And I research the organizations before giving to try to ensure that my money is providing the most help to those in need and in ways that actually help.

When I as in college, we didn't have recycling on campus. A number of groups saved their soda cans and, when they got enough, put them outside overnight. There were (possibly homeless) guys who roamed campus picking up cans to take to the recycling center. Most of the guys even left the boxes or bins we set the cans out in. We called it "hobo recycling"...not very pc, but our cans got recycled and the guys got some money.


I'll offer food on occasion, but have always felt worse afterwards when giving money than not giving anything at all.

Also, it bugs me that the people standing on the side of the road with signs are probably making more money in an hour than I am.