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Old 06-02-2009, 07:43 PM
Location: St. Paul's East Side
550 posts, read 1,637,374 times
Reputation: 281


Originally Posted by floyd242 View Post
Have you ever tried to get a bum off the street? It's not exactly easy.

I got to know a homeless guy that hung around my old neighborhood and it turns out he was a painter. I set him up with some equipment and let him repaint the inside of my house. I let him stay in the back room for a couple of months while I wasn't living in the house and I got him a job with some friends helping them paint. As soon as he got some money he started buying crack with it, finally I had to kick him out and when I was cleaning the room I found crack pipes and cut out pictures of boys in underwear from catalogues. It was a total shock to me... I hung out with him and he seemed pretty normal.

I never saw him again luckily.

I stayed friendly with the homeless in that neighborhood and still helped them out occasionally. I believe this is can be both bad and good though. The good is they actually keep an eye on your place and have helped/warned me about a few things. The bad is once they know you'll help them they can be pretty annoying. An easy way to curb this is to only give them food/clothing/stuff not money. Occasionally I would drive them to a shelter and pay their way in for a couple days if they want.

edit: I'm open to suggestions on better ways to help, this was just my experience/solutions. I'm by no means rich however.

Floyd ~

I simply want to commend you for believing in and giving a chance to someone, and for continuing to believe in and giving a chance to others even after you were burned.

From my experiences, what you say is true in this post. The good is that they will keep an eye on your property and warn you, the bad is that they will come to expect a handout.

As you said, never give money, offer to help them with clothing or food.

My only additional suggestion would be to suggest they connect with an urban ministry such as Bob Lupton's FCS Urban Ministries (http://www.fcsministries.org/about.htm - broken link) - generational poverty and homelessness are multi-faceted problems and need to be approached with multi-faceted solutions.

Also, you need to know and understand the "rules of the street". If you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. If you watch out for them, they will watch out for you. However, perhaps not in all the ways you might expect. For example, if you leave property unsecured, you are being stupid and it's considered your own fault if the property turns up missing. Like it or not, agree with in or not, that's a rules of the streets. And, although you may not consider yourself to be rich, if you are a homeowner, you ARE rich by the standards of most of the people with whom you share the Planet Earth - and most certainly by the standards of someone who is living on the streets. Beyond simply surviving on a day-to-day basis, there is often little to no understanding between someone who simply taken the right steps to ensure a small measure of security and someone who is filthy rich. Solid middle-class is "rich", lower middle class is "kinda rich", and anyone who owns a business or a professional degree is "filthy rich".

We live in the city, in a somewhat better neighborhood now than where we lived a little over a year ago. Personally, we like to keep a couple of scary-looking dogs on our property. If the homeless/vagrant in our neighborhood know "that's the house with the two pit bulls" and therefore steer clear... hey, it works for us! We have adorable, loving pets who just happen to look like they are mean and vicious. Of course they aren't going to be much help if the people who break into our home happen to be dog lovers and know how to approach strange dogs... but we'll keep that 411 under raps!

So we really take a two-pronged approach. We are friendly and and try to be helpful to the homeless/vagrants we see regularly in our neighborhood - we try to remember names and try them like REAL PEOPLE, which of course they are real people - duh. But you'd be surprised how often this little act of decency is overlooked! And secondly, we keep our belongings properly secured under lock and key, and we keep dogs on our property.

But I actually never lock my car. I simply leave nothing of value in my car. If someone ever wants to get inside to rummage around and try to steal something, I'd rather not deal with the hassle of getting a broken window repaired.

I once left my cell phone in my car and it was stolen by some punks - kids. It's a T-Mobile My Favs plan and the punks were stupid enough to change the "My Favs" to their friends and even someone named "MOM". I went online, found the changes, and called "Mom". At first she claimed she'd gotten a wrong number call, but when I started rattling off the history on my phone in the six hours since it had gone missing [a dozen wrong number calls, many lasting 5-10 minutes? yeah right], and furthermore told "Mom" I wasn't interested in going to the police and getting anyone thrown into juvie... lo and behold, my phone was returned to me within an hour!
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