How do you react to homeless people?

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dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
25,055
3,408
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On the street, I do nothing.
But, once a month I make ~150 meals and serve it to the hungry. Its main focus is the working poor. But anyone rich or poor, homeless or not, working or not, is welcome. Come to the organization that I volunteer at, and we give you food. No questions asked. I also donate money to that organization so that they can provide services such as showers, laundry, drug/alcohol/other counselling, resume assistance, and a phone/mailbox to that they can actually get back to normal. The success rate isn't 100% on getting them back to normal. But virtually no one leaves hungry.
 

who?

Platinum Member
Sep 1, 2012
2,327
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Jesus said to love everybody and leave the judging to God.
President Kennedy passed the law that started the community mental health centers for people to get treatment in their hometowns in 1963. Reagan just followed up on it.
 

Puffnstuff

Lifer
Mar 9, 2005
16,026
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I believe we as members of society should compassionately do our best to support and care for the UNABLE (mentally or physically disabled, etc...). the able-bodied yet UNWILLING (which includes those who have made stupid choices in life and are now bearing the consequences)..... screw-em. I have run out of sympathy for those people. The world owes you NOTHING.
I agree with you and that is a very important distinction that you've made. Those who've been pummeled through no fault of their own should be cared for and those who are just too lazy and want to work the system for a free ride should get a rude wake up call. There should be limits to welfare and females who pump out babies to obtain more benefits shouldn't be allowed to prosper through their own negligent practices.
 
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Puffnstuff

Lifer
Mar 9, 2005
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Jesus said to love everybody and leave the judging to God.
He sure did and he also set an example for us all to follow. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, worked as a carpenter to support himself and taught Christianity on the side. The twelve disciples were all commercial fishermen to support themselves while they assisted Jesus lay the foundation of Christianity. Paul also stated that if you don't work you don't eat. That also means that preachers who've made a career out of preaching expecting to be paid by their churches are dead wrong. That money is supposed to be used for God's purposes and not for wrongful uses such as paying for private jets or building enormous monuments to men and cathedrals of wealth also known as church buildings (some are more like religious campuses)..
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
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www.bradlygsmith.org
I think part of it was lack of manpower & part of it was lack of accountability. It's not like McDonalds where you can short-staff the place & still get acceptable results, you know? I have a couple friends who work with special needs kids in schools...one has a group & the other is one-on-one. The lady who does one-on-one is basically with one kid all day, who is like 6' tall in high school & has severe mental issues, and she is constantly completely drained after work. It's a mental AND physical job. In the last photo above, there's just a room full of 20 or 30 people and you probably just have a couple nurse-guards to watch all of them, when some of them really need individual attention. The book "One flew over the cuckoo's nest" apparently had a big impact on society:

https://www.keystonehumanservices.org/about-us/history/

Like student loans & job outsourcing, mental healthcare is something our society really needs to address & overhaul if we want to make this a better place to live. Especially in light of all of the mass shootings that have happened over the last few decades.
I don't know how that happened, but that wasn't my quote. But either way I agree.

We make room for mentally challenged children, but adults for the most part have to fend for themselves.
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,723
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The homeless are why I carry bear spray. Seriously though the aggressive panhandlers are all over downtown Chicago. Make eye contact and they will follow you for blocks.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,411
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For me, there are two distinctive subgroups of "needy" people: those UNABLE (through no fault of their own) to care for themselves, and those who are UNWILLING (for various reasons) to care for themselves.

I believe we as members of society should compassionately do our best to support and care for the UNABLE (mentally or physically disabled, etc...). the able-bodied yet UNWILLING (which includes those who have made stupid choices in life and are now bearing the consequences)..... screw-em. I have run out of sympathy for those people. The world owes you NOTHING.

That's a really excellent point. And I think that's what makes it difficult...how do you tell them apart? If I have a few bucks or some change handy, I'm more than willing to help someone who is really in a bad spot, but if you're just lazy, c'mon. I don't know if this applies in every case, but it seems like the people who are hostile or aggressive about handouts are usually in the "unwilling" group, like the people who hassle you for a dollar in the parking lot with a random new story every time. If I see an old dude with a thousand-yard stare looking haggard with a donation sign & a dog next to him, that's a little bit different than an abled-bodied 25-year-old who can spend 5 minutes bothering you at the gas station for a buck. If you can do that, there are jobs that will pay you minimum wage to do the same thing.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,411
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I don't know how that happened, but that wasn't my quote. But either way I agree.

We make room for mentally challenged children, but adults for the most part have to fend for themselves.

Haha weird! I just manually edited it to Fanatical Meat's name. New forum glitch?

Well yeah, and it's like that quote I see floating around all the time - "We ask 18-year-olds to make huge decisions about their career and financial future, when a month ago they had to ask to go to the bathroom." - Adam Kotsko.
 
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OverVolt

Lifer
Aug 31, 2002
14,278
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When I was younger the homeless people I saw were usually old men with mental or drug problems.

A couple years ago I started seeing homeless people my age OR YOUNGER and that really startled me. The economy the way it is, its pretty easy to end up on the streets if you don't have a good family support structure (not everyone does) and you have a string of bad luck (everyone does eventually) so I felt pretty shocked/disturbed once I started to see pretty normal looking millenial types like me who were homeless, but you know... /ignore I gotta go about my day as well and I can't help literally every person I see so my family and friends come first and that keeps me plenty busy.
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,689
294
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www.bradlygsmith.org
When I was younger the homeless people I saw were usually old men with mental or drug problems.

A couple years ago I started seeing homeless people my age OR YOUNGER and that really startled me. The economy the way it is, its pretty easy to end up on the streets if you don't have a good family support structure (not everyone does) and you have a string of bad luck (everyone does eventually) so I felt pretty shocked/disturbed once I started to see pretty normal looking millenial types like me who were homeless, but you know... /ignore I gotta go about my day as well and I can't help literally every person I see so my family and friends come first and that keeps me plenty busy.
Yeah, the decision whether to help or not is fraught with an inner debate; "I want to help, but there are so many," "I don't want to contribute to a drug or alcohol problem." There are charities, but they seem to enrich themselves as much as help others. I pray for them.
 

skull

Platinum Member
Jun 5, 2000
2,209
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But you do neither...all you do is call them lazy.

I've gave jobs to people that say they are just down on there luck blah blah blah. They show up late or not at all, don't try to learn anything. Do as little as possible to get a few dollars. They are lazy. Hell I had one with no car so I go out of my way to pick him up for work. Hows he repay me? Begs me for money when I go to pick him up, so he can go take care of something then he'll find his own way to work.
 

GagHalfrunt

Lifer
Apr 19, 2001
25,297
2,000
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For me, there are two distinctive subgroups of "needy" people: those UNABLE (through no fault of their own) to care for themselves, and those who are UNWILLING (for various reasons) to care for themselves.

I believe we as members of society should compassionately do our best to support and care for the UNABLE (mentally or physically disabled, etc...). the able-bodied yet UNWILLING (which includes those who have made stupid choices in life and are now bearing the consequences)..... screw-em. I have run out of sympathy for those people. The world owes you NOTHING.

I agree 1000%. But the sticky wicket in that train of thought is distinguishing between those on the street through their own negligence, stupidity, laziness, etc and those who perhaps *look* healthy or able to work, but are really fucked up. Mental health is such a difficult thing to determine, a person with a fairly high IQ and 4 good limbs can still be completely unable to cope for himself. That's the troubling part, you walk by some people that seem fine and your inner voice says something snarky like "what's wrong with you? get a job" and the reality is we have no idea what's wrong with them and it could be problems beyond their control that prevents them from holding a job. I find it hard to accept that a sane person would choose to live under a bridge just because it's easier than working 40 hours a week. In the vast majority of cases I believe there is something wrong with the person that prevents them from being "normal" even if we can't readily identify what that something is.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,411
5,270
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I agree 1000%. But the sticky wicket in that train of thought is distinguishing between those on the street through their own negligence, stupidity, laziness, etc and those who perhaps *look* healthy or able to work, but are really fucked up. Mental health is such a difficult thing to determine, a person with a fairly high IQ and 4 good limbs can still be completely unable to cope for himself. That's the troubling part, you walk by some people that seem fine and your inner voice says something snarky like "what's wrong with you? get a job" and the reality is we have no idea what's wrong with them and it could be problems beyond their control that prevents them from holding a job. I find it hard to accept that a sane person would choose to live under a bridge just because it's easier than working 40 hours a week. In the vast majority of cases I believe there is something wrong with the person that prevents them from being "normal" even if we can't readily identify what that something is.

Good post. I know what you mean about high IQ & 4 good limbs. My friend's ex-husband is an alcoholic. Not a mean guy by any means, but addicted to drinking. Has lost lots of good jobs because he's late or hungover or never shows up, wrecked cars due to being plastered, etc. Ended up getting divorced & still has struggles. Bright & able; just dealing with something mentally that he can't overcome himself & hasn't wanted to pursue help for. He would most likely be homeless if he didn't have his brother to fall back on whenever he goes on a bender. I'm sure there are a lot of people in that same group who don't have family or friends to fall back on, so yeah...there's so many aspects to this problem. It'd be great to help everyone, but people have to want to be helped, and some people aren't really capable of being helped with the way our society is setup now (re: the shutdown of institutions etc.). Really really difficult problem to solve.
 
Nov 8, 2012
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Forgive me if this seems like a diary entry, but it troubles me.

Being in New Orleans, I see homeless people every day on corners with signs. White, Black, Hispanic, men, women, sometimes even young adults.

This morning after I parked the car and began walking to my job, I saw a guy lying down on the pavement, apparently asleep. This is in the middle of downtown.

I was conflicted about whether to walk past him or not, but I indeed walked right on past him. As I ascended the elevator I felt more and more disturbed; like I should've done something for him. But, this is the crucial question, is it my responsibility to help this man not just superficially, but fundamentally? Do I not just get him a meal, but take him into my home? With my wife and children?

I'm flat broke right now for a few days, so I couldn't buy anything for him. I wound up getting him a hot chocolate from the company coffee maker. I woke him and offered it to him. Now that I saw his face, he looked about my age, mid to late 30s, although significant facial hair probably added to his apparent age. He thanked me, took the cup and started to drink it. I warned him that it was very hot, and walked away.

I feel just plain shaken from the experience. I don't know why. I feel like I shouldn't have just walked away. I should've stayed a bit, even in silence. Been a friend for a moment.

Anyway, I wanted to know if any of you guys have had similar experiences.

You can be rich and have no friends either? I don't get the sympathy of standing around talking to them. I don't care to talk to the person next to me on the bus, so why feel obligated to talk to anyone else?

I have the misfortune of running into hobos every day since I work in a downtown urban environment. You have many different kinds of them. Either way they have one objective, ask for money. Give me money. Put money in my cup. You can read all the signs you want about them being "Hungry, just want food" - but how many times have you seen them outright refuse an apple someone offered them from their leftover lunch? Or said thanks and then threw it in the trash after the person giving it to them leaves? I have seen these situations multiple times. It's a very clear illustration that food is not what they are after.

If someone wanted help, they would seek help and that's ultimately what it boils down to. There are multiple very recognized organizations locally that give food and shelter for these types of people, in addition to helping with employment. It's very obvious that that isn't what they are asking for.

Not to mention, simply going up to random people and intruding on them for money is a form of harassment. Plenty of people simply bow under pressure and give them some just so they go away. I don't carry cash, and that is one of many reasons why.

Give a beggar a dollar, you lose a dollar.
Don't give a beggar a dollar, you'll probably be ok, but sometimes they will find a way to ruin your day.

At the end of the day, giving money to a hobo will only increase the problem. That's right, when you give them money you just contributed to more of them showing up and expanding the problem. Excellent job watson.
 
Nov 8, 2012
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This sounds cruel but I mean it in a loving way. Some people are just too damaged to be able to care for themselves. We really need to institutionalize again and be willing to fund it enough that they're treated with respect.
From working in a big city, having friends in a big city I've learned directly giving cash is a waste it will never be used appropriately. I have brought old clothes and food on occasion an old water proof coat is always good.
You do have to keep in mind many homeless are homeless because they have lost all friends and family contact from drug/alcohol abuse. Think of yourself if you lost you home I'd bet there is someone you know that will take you in. Now imagine if your Brother/Sister has to kick you out because you keep stealing money from them and pawning their stuff to get a few dollars.


Also this, this and this.

As someone with an opiate addicted sister, I wouldn't be stupid enough to ever let her live in my house. My mother has already had the pleasure of trying to help her out multiple times including:
1. Living in her house
2. Paying for a lawyer to get her out of shit
3. Paying for rehab services
4. Taking care of her daughter... which still continues to this day.

In the end? My mom finds jewelry that has been missing while going through the room she is staying in. Originally she presumed it was a caregiver for our dad that stole them.
 

Puffnstuff

Lifer
Mar 9, 2005
16,026
4,795
136
You know people who don't want help cannot be helped no matter how well intentioned you are towards them.
 

QueBert

Lifer
Jan 6, 2002
22,392
722
126
I had a cushy data center job years ago. AC was always on, would sip tea, eat ramen and press a few keys on the keyboard. When I worked there I had a co worker bitch about the beggers "I work hard for my money, fuck them!" Our job was much easier than standing out on a corner in the blazing hot So Cal summer sun all day begging for money. And doing it somewhere like Chicago where it's minus fucking degrees outside? SHIT NO. I'd say begging's much more work than most office jobs. And for much less $$$ to boot. Beggers aren't lazy if you ask me. But to each his own.
 
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NetWareHead

THAT guy
Aug 10, 2002
5,854
154
106
In the end? My mom finds jewelry that has been missing while going through the room she is staying in. Originally she presumed it was a caregiver for our dad that stole them.


My fiance and I know a guy who is in and out of boarding houses. Lives a few days in a boarding house, homeless shelter, various peoples couches and at times on the street or under a bridge.

We tried to help him out from time to time by giving him odd jobs; handyman type stuff. The guy is qualified to work with his hands but never could get it together to have a successful life or organize his finances in a meaningful way to advance himself. Always pissing it away somehow drinking, drugs, smoking, women etc...

Im super cautious about him when he is around doing work for us. Empty out our medicine cabinet in the bathroom and put it in our locked bedroom. We have some opiates and other drugs that would be worth something for him and I'd fully expect him to rob us if given the chance.

Actually, having him around is such a pain in the ass, we havent called on him in over 2 years because I feel like we have to watch him constantly. Cant do my own things because I have to hang around and lurk; enough so he knows I'm vigilant.
 

Darwin333

Lifer
Dec 11, 2006
19,946
2,328
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I always give to those that are honest. I too live in New Orleans and there is a guy that I occasionally see with a sign that says something like "Not gonna lie, need money for beer" and I can't help but give him a few bucks.

I do feel bad for them but most are beyond whatever help I can give. I agree with an earlier poster that said we need vastly improved mental healthcare in this country as the majority of homeless people suffer from some kind of mental illness. Most of the ones in the French Quarter are professional panhandlers though and they make some pretty damn good money. There was a news story a while back that followed one and at the end of his "shift" and he walked to his yearish old 30-40K SUV and drove to his rather nice house. It was estimated that he made well over $750 that day alone.