U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > General U.S.
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
Old 11-25-2009, 08:55 AM
530 posts, read 2,591,682 times
Reputation: 556


I know it may be a bit heartless to ask this question at this time of year, but I've often wondered what people are thinking when they give money to homeless people? I lived in NYC for nearly 15 years and I generally did give whenever possible in my first few years. However, as time passed I realized what a ridiculous waste of time this was and how I was just enabling drug habits. A case in point, there used to be a guy in my old neighborhood (Upper West Side) who would be on his knees in the middle of the sidewalk literally screaming, crying, begging people for anything, saying "I'M SO HUNGRY!". People often lined up to give him some change or more. What I always found funny was that if he were that hungry, you would think he would have taken the first dollar that someone gave him and run into a bodega to get something to eat. But he would take every penny, and I remember watching him one time after the crowds had died down and he never went to get any food. He simply hid himself against a building and counted his money, then after a few minutes passed he started his routine again and more crowds formed.

Obviously this is just one example but when there are shelters that are giving homeless people free food, no questions asked, you have to wonder why these people beg at all? The only answer is to support their drug/booze habit. Maybe for some people that's ok, and they don't mind giving money to help someone get their fix. But I think most who give generally think they are helping put food in someone's stomach when the reality is likely very different. I can recall a few times when I offered leftovers from dinner at a restaurant to a homeless person and the response was not all the enthusiastic, and in some cases it was simply refused.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 11-25-2009, 09:04 AM
Location: Neither here nor there
1,810 posts, read 6,373,329 times
Reputation: 549
I feel the same way. I used to give if the person was handicapped or was older but I came to realize that a lot of these "beggars" know all the tricks. Safe bet that most are scammers. All people are doing is supporting their drinking/drug habit.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-25-2009, 09:11 AM
2,039 posts, read 4,907,612 times
Reputation: 1204
I see your point but my thought is what if the person is acutally in need? Of course I can not help everyone and not everyone is truly in need but if I can spare the 1.00 or 50 cents I will give it. I would hate for this to be a truly needy person that I could have helped and I did nothing.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-25-2009, 09:46 AM
784 posts, read 2,517,829 times
Reputation: 446
I do not give to the homeless. That is what charities are for. If I wanted to give to the homeless, I would give to charities.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-25-2009, 09:56 AM
Location: Jacksonville,Florida
3,772 posts, read 9,551,022 times
Reputation: 1981
If a homeless person is really hungry take him to a MacDonalds and buy the person something to eat and if the person refuses and wants the cash instead decline, because that person's intent is obviously not good,its not like the rent is due.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-25-2009, 10:25 AM
22,769 posts, read 26,229,736 times
Reputation: 14558
to assuage their guilt.

I can get behind charity, if it is the catalyst for some sort of sustainable life change.. charity that has a "multiplier effect", so to speak. But giving a homeless person $5 to finance some temporary consumption, does not seem like smart or useful charity to me.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-25-2009, 11:12 AM
1,109 posts, read 1,974,171 times
Reputation: 1074
I give to homeless people on occasion. Its true that some are drug addicts and others might be lazy people but it is hard to judge people that are needy. Some people send money to charities but who knows where that money goes. I would rather give on the streets and know that my money is going to someone in need. I use my own judgement as to wether a person had tough breaks and is truly in need or just trying to get something for nothing. I rarely give over $1.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-25-2009, 11:44 AM
Location: Denver via Austin
3,115 posts, read 6,501,946 times
Reputation: 3541
There aren't very many homeless people where I live, but the few that are here are usually legitimately needy and people usually give them food instead of change. What I don't understand is how people give money to people smoking cigarettes (like I saw in Vancouver multiple times) and people with signs like "Need money for alcohol experimentation" (like I saw in Austin).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-25-2009, 11:56 AM
Location: moving again
4,382 posts, read 15,327,934 times
Reputation: 1594
I never give homeless money. Instead, whenever i go to a restaurant and have leftovers, i give it to them so i know they won't be doing anything bad with the money i could have given them
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-25-2009, 12:11 PM
Location: Portland, Oregon
1,372 posts, read 2,597,912 times
Reputation: 573
I do it. Sure some of them scam, but how do I really know that for sure? How do I know that me refusing to give them money could prevent them from surviving the next day!?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > General U.S.
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top