Why I Never Give Money To Homeless People

by Broke Grad on July 29, 2008

This past weekend I was hanging out in the city with a few of my friends. The city is the place to be on the weekends. You’ll find some of everything there — residents, tourists, freaks, geeks, foreigners, dudes, chicks, dudes dressed as chicks, chicks dressed as dudes, and the homeless. While we were hanging out in the city, my friends and I were approached by homeless people multiple times.

Having spent four years of my life bombarded by panhandlers in Chicago, saying no is practically second nature to me now. Seeing the same people on the El asking for money every weekend made me grow rather cynical. There was one incident in particular where one of the perpetual panhandlers started saying his lines, and a lady started warning the other passengers not to give him money because he didn’t need it.

In other incidents, I’ve seen homeless people flat out refuse food from others just trying to help them out. Apparently, some of them are hungry for money, not food. Other times I’ve seen people give a homeless person some money, only for the homeless person to get mad when they can’t spare a little more. These experiences have left quite an impression on me, and that’s why I never give homeless people money.

I know it sounds selfish, and maybe it is. However, this study shows that I’d fit right in with the college students at UNC when it comes to giving handouts to the homeless. Here are the main reasons I never give homeless people money.

You don’t know what they are going to do with it. I really hate the feeling of not knowing if they spend the money on something useful. Of course, their signs always mention they need money for food, but we all know that it could just as easily go towards drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes. I’m not trying to stereotype all homeless people this way, but my biggest concern is that I have no idea which ones are being genuine and honest.

Sometimes they aren’t even thankful. As I mentioned before, some homeless people blatantly refuse food offerings because they’d prefer money. That’s like having a friend throw away a birthday cake you made for them because they prefer pie. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve helped an old lady cross the street and held doors open for strangers, and these people have been more grateful than any homeless person I ever gave money to before I adopted my new policy.

There are better alternatives. In fact, maybe the reason some homeless people aren’t thrilled about money and food is because they’re really just looking for conversation, as this article suggests. As far as money is concerned, I prefer donating to organizations that help the homeless rather than giving money directly to the homeless, because I know that the money will be used appropriately.

With that being said, my friends see things differently. All of them ended up giving change to most of the homeless people we ran into this weekend. In fact, one of the homeless guys tried to make me feel guilty for being the only person in our group to not give him some money, and it made me wonder.

Do we give money to the homeless to help them out or do we do it to feel better about ourselves?

Most, if not all, of the people I’ve met who regularly give money to the homeless mention a common feeling — guilt. When you mention that the homeless person could spend the money on something bad, they usually say something like, “That’s not my responsibility anymore.” Basically, they’ve done their good deed, and the overwhelming feeling of guilt is gone.

Do you give money to the homeless? Is the act of giving a selfish act?

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{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laura July 29, 2008 at 4:21 am

I may offer food to a homeless person, but in general I do not give money. I agree with your reasons. I had homeless people turn down my food and persist in asking for money. I wish it wasn’t this way, but I don’t give money.

2 Nate July 29, 2008 at 5:32 am

Broke Grad, these are all valid points for not giving to a homeless person directly. But, I think there are valid reasons as well. If you have a conversation and after that, see that their the immediate need is money for a cheese burger, I think that would be a valid reason to give. Also, the homeless struggle with an immense amount of stuff most of us don’t have to deal with. I hope I offer more patience, even among many homeless that may take advantage of a situation, but how often do we take advantage of our friends for instance? Thanks for the post!

3 Geoff July 29, 2008 at 7:28 am

I also don’t give to the homeless/panhandlers, mostly for several reasons. When I was in college the same people would come along with the same stories night after night (“my daughter was jsut in an accident and I need money to take the bus to the hospital” or “I just moved here and have a job, but not a paycheck until friday and I need money to feed my kid” (this same person gave me the same story the next saturday)). Second, I had a guest lecturer in college who worked in Cleveland with the police and went undercover to study the habits of panhandlers and found out that it was a business with a heirarchy, the top getting most of the money, and a business-type system. Lastly, there have been plenty of stories of panhandlers with huge bank accounts, liek one millionaire panhandler in NYC. I’d rather give to a charity or homeless shelter.

4 Nate July 29, 2008 at 9:27 am

It very well may make sense to not give in most cases, but it is a mistake to assume that all homeless are panhandlers and that all panhandlers are homeless. There are many panhandlers that are not homeless and who can make a decent amount of money, but this don’t mean that there are homeless that may actually need the money in their instance. I’m just trying to drive home that the statement “You should never give to a homeless person” is an absolute statement that isn’t completely helpful.

5 Amphritrite July 29, 2008 at 10:56 am

I’ve had the instance of refused food happen to me, as well. Generally, I get hit up for money while shopping at Pike’s Place in Seattle, and since I’ve just bought a bucketload of fresh food, I usually offer a peach or an apple or a banana in lieu of my cash.

I had one guy go, “No, no, I have plenty of food, thanks. But if you have a penny…”

I just looked at him and said, “I paid $.59lb for these bananas, and you want a penny? Meanwhile, your sign clearly says that you’re hungry and homeless. Don’t ever refuse the blessings offered to you for free; there are always less fortunate people than yourself.” And walked away.

6 PT July 29, 2008 at 12:30 pm

No chance do I give and for the same reasons as you don’t: you don’t know where it’s going to go to and there are better ways that you can help them like giving to a charity who helps the homeless (and if you give big enough, they give back – in terms of a tax receipt).

7 GG @ This Writer's Wallet July 29, 2008 at 7:23 pm

I never give to homeless people either, true Chicago-native-style, I guess. There’s a part of me that always wants to, mainly because of how I will feel in helping someone, so I understand your question about whether it’s selfish or not. And I have given food before, but, this makes me feel bad, it was restaurant leftovers we were carrying.

I have a couple friends who’ve, in my opinion, shown real Christianity by walking with a homeless person to McDonald’s or whatever’s nearby and buying the person a meal. Even when it was inconvenient for them. I’d like to be like that.

8 Broke Grad Student July 29, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Nate: I definitely agree that there are valid reasons to give directly to the homeless. In my experiences, the brief amount of time you have to interact with them just isn’t enough time to determine whether they’re genuinely in need or not. I have had my fair share of interesting conversations with homeless people, and seeing them smile and laugh has always been more satisfying than giving them money.

GG: Back in Chicago a few years ago, I was eating at a restaurant late one night, and there was a college-aged guy sitting down, having a meal with a homeless guy. It looked like they were discussing the Bible over a meal. It makes me wonder if homeless people really are just looking for companionship rather than money or food.

9 Hayden Tompkins August 4, 2008 at 6:21 am

I almost always, if I have it, give money to street musicians. Sometimes they are homeless, sometimes they are simply poor – but that’s the way I’m wired. They don’t accost me, they provide a soundtrack to my day, some of them are actually QUITE accomplished, and frankly it actually makes my heart ache to see them doing something they love in such a debased conditioned.

10 Dana August 4, 2008 at 6:47 am

I don’t give money to the homeless. I give money to my church who then decides where the money should go. Most of the time it is spent on people in the church first, then if there is some leftover then the community. We don’t just give money away. We provide food and personal finance education. We work with them – if we don’t see improvement, when there should be then they are on their own.

Remember the saying: teach a man to fish ….

11 Kate August 4, 2008 at 1:59 pm

I’m with you. I gave money to street people when I was very young, actually before I had any real earning power. Then I started working in food service. I would often take the meal that I was entitled to and offer it to homeless people on my way home. More often than not, I was either turned down or got an attitude from people I tried to give it to. And it was good, fresh food that I had just prepared myself. They wanted money instead. That pretty well soured me. I’d rather give to homeless shelters or other charities.

12 kat August 4, 2008 at 3:29 pm

I agree completely. I live in NYC, where there are literally thousands of places for the homeless to get food. I have offered food in the past and been verbally abused in return. It seems to me that, since food and shelter are readily available for people in need of them, panhandlers are almost always trying to get money for alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. And panhandling can be quite lucrative, because they do play on those feelings of guilt! As long as people continue to give them money, they will continue to do it instead of trying to repair their lives. I resolved instead to give money to a couple of local organizations which help the homeless (and attempt to address the societal issues behind the problem), and I plan to volunteer my time as well once I have more of it.

I DO give money to street/subway performers though, because they brighten my day and provide a soundtrack to my commute. I feel like they’re part of the wonderful tapestry of city life and I’d like them to continue doing it. :)

13 Sam August 5, 2008 at 4:58 am

I also don’t give money to homeless, often because I don’t carry cash, but mostly because, not only do you not know where the money is going, but it perpetuates their ability to continue to live comfortably on the street. With no incentive to fix their lives, they will continue to be a burden on society. The organizations that help get the homeless off the street are much better places to donate.

I did think it was kind of funny, though, when I went to a conference in Baltimore last year and kept getting asked for $20 for a taxi because “my car has been towed.” It’s like all the panhandlers (I’m sure these people were not homeless) synchronized their stories, which doesn’t make any sense to me, since they’d collectively be better off having different stories.

14 Shadox August 5, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Well – I understand your motivation, but I sometimes do give money to folks on the street. Maybe they are swindlling me, but what if they’re not. For me, a couple of bucks don’t make a difference either way. For someone else, those two dollars could mean a whole lot.

Maybe I am just making myself feel better. But if so, a couple of bucks is a really small price to pay for making myself feel good. Anyway, I think there are probably worse ways for making yourself feel good. No?

15 Broke Grad Student August 7, 2008 at 11:46 pm

kat: Back when I lived in Chicago, I also gave money to street/El performers and musicians. Some were so good that I considered bringing something to record them, so I could listen to it back at home.

16 wordy August 10, 2008 at 3:50 pm

I agree with you about not giving money to those who appear homeless. I say “appear” because my experiences in my 20s taught me that not all is as it seems. I worked in a public library in Charlotte, NC; my branch in particular was in what was, at the time, a very sketchy part of town. We had a scary dive across the street, pawn shops, one of those buys-by-the-pint blood banks around the corner, and a couple of very cheap by-the-week boarding houses on the other corner. Guys who spent their days panhandling would come into the library to escape the elements, and proceed to sit around and coach each other on how best to “push the mark” or bug people to give them money and which shelters to avoid. None of them liked the shelters that required them to bathe, as they all knew that intense body odor was one of their weapons. If they could get someone in close quarters, the “mark” would often give them money just to get them and their stink to go away. One of them drove his car to the library on a regular basis. He was later busted by the police and found to have a car, an apartment where he had a fridge full of food, clothing, furniture, all utilities, and $700 in the bank in checking and savings. He supported himself panhandling, standing around with his sign that claimed he was a crippled veteran. There were genuine homeless people in our area, and I did offer them food – and sometimes even clothing I got from my brother when he was cleaning out his closets. But I never, ever gave them money, and to this day I still don’t. The truly homeless were grateful; the “professional” homeless (my term for guys like the one I’ve just described) got nasty when they were offered anything but money.

17 doctorS August 10, 2008 at 7:39 pm

I did my undergrad in Philadelphia and we had a huge situation around campus dealing with the homeless. It was always the same guys and many times they were very aggressive, just with females. There were a few of them that sometimes just wanted common conversation. I have never been one for giving them money, but I have often given them food, especially when my friends and I are out to dinner somewhere and we get things packed to go. They were always very appreciative.

18 Ashley August 14, 2008 at 9:15 am

I find it strange that the homeless always show up in the places where people carry the most money. I was at Otakon (anime convention) this weekend and there was a homeless man arguing with a security guard about sitting in the way of the dealers room. He KNEW that the people going to the dealers room had lots of money, and the fact that he had a custom sign (“Anime or Aid?) is sketchy, in my eyes. It’s just extortion…

19 Lauren October 16, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Hello i am doing a project on homelessness for school and i have some questions soo if you could email me that you be amazing!!

20 Liz November 23, 2008 at 7:17 am

If I have money when they ask for it I will give it. In all of my experiances my food has been accepted my money and conversation. Once i was given food by the homeless man asking for money. I had parked my car , my kids were in the car and they were all hungrey. I didnt have any money and I was waiting for my oldest daughter to come out of her meeting. Then a man walked up, he had been begging at the street corner just before but he had heard my kids asking me for some food. He walked over and showed me that he had a bag full of candy bars, protien bars, soome little bags of chips, and just little stuff like that. None of it was even remotley healthy. he asked if my kids would like any of it, he said that they could have what ever they liked from it. After my kids chose some stuff I began to talk to him. He said that right now he was tired of the streets and how cold it could get. He was saving up for a hotel room.
This doesnt at all sound like the sterotype you have built up. This man was sincere and very polite. He had better manners than many of the people I know. I will always be grateful that he let my kids eat some of his food. He talked to them to and soon he was one of their favorite people.

21 Melissa November 25, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Hi, I agree with you totally.
But I still give money to the homeless because I can tell which people are homeless and which people arent.
Like this one time, a homeless person was holding a sign on the freeway and he started to approach my mom because he saw her taking out her purse and it wasn’t even for him. She was going to give it to him but this guy just needed it for drugs. But I still help homeless people.

22 Reisha December 19, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Hi, I am not a student so I hope you dont mind me writing on here. I am a full time employed person who recently moved to New York from London and I had an experience today which made me feel terrible. I was in a coffee shop at lunchtime with my colleague and a man came up to me asking for 50cents for a coffee. He showed me he had $1 and just needed another 50cents. Instinctvely I said ‘sorry i don’t have any change’ and he politely smiled and said thank you. He then looked at my colleague and asked if she had as it was very cold outside and he just wanted something to keep warm so she gave him $1.
The moment the words came out of my mouth I felt guilty that my first words were ‘no’ rather than reading the situation. He then walked over the coffee cart and got a $1.50 coffee….just as he had said he would do. Of course I ran straight over to him and gave him some money as I realised he was genuinely wanting a coffee and not just the cash for something else.
Having lived in London for 8 years I was constantly approached by people who were panhandlers, drunks and druggies who clearly wanted the money for anything other than food [some werent and I did give them money]. So I suppose I was so used to this and I instinctivly said no – then spent the rest of the day feeling so bad that I couldnt give just $1 when the weather was bad when I had just spent money on Christmas presents for my family.
I do completely agree that giving money to homeless charities is better for everyone [I give to Crisis in the UK] but still felt guilty not inititally parting with $1.
I would say [for me] I would try and read the situation before making a decision but I know that I have probably been scammed by panhandlers in the past.
I think I just felt bad that my instinctive was a ‘no’ rather than a ‘how can I help’.

23 Steve February 1, 2009 at 4:32 am

In between flights from my Vegas trip which I left completely broke (another story for another day), I mustered up the courage / set dignity aside to beg for a meal. Literally the first person I asked, a woman in her early 30′s , handed me a 10$ bill. I thanked her and found the nearest airport restaurant (Chili’s) to order an eggs & sausage breakfast.

Clearly being a young adult, broke from a recent trip to Vegas, is different from being homeless. I was in an airport rather than the streets of some city, and had a story people in that setting can empathize with.

I guess people naturally want help someone in need when they can relate to their problem and believe that person is genuine. I think I a factor is that people really can’t relate to being homeless. They could never see themselves getting to that level without trying get back on their feet.

24 Mitch March 31, 2009 at 3:23 pm

I live in a major college town, and I’m actually currently writing a paper on the homeless people in the city, and I agree completely with what you are saying. My roommate gave a homeless guy $10 once, and not a half hour later we saw him at the liquor house we usually go to buying cheap vodka. It just ticks me off. Before that, I rarely gave homeless money, but now I never do.

25 Mike May 13, 2009 at 5:21 pm

I was approached by a young man around my age 20′s, I was with a friend killing a couple hours before we met up with someone. He asked for a buck so he could catch a bus, he was dressed casual blended in with everyone else. It was the middle of the week, I have 3 dollars to my name till payday on Friday. I said “Here, Merry Christmas. My last 3 bucks.” Money doesn’t mean much to me, I live 50 miles from work where it would have been wise to save for gas. I saw a young man who needed, now. Couple hours later we are leaving the mall and he’s still outside. I ask him about his bus then he says some bs story. I see him walking over to another guy on the side of the building sitting down with a stack of cash that a majority looked like ones. I see him around town a lot, asking me for money again.

I then started something new, asking for something of his that is worth 3-5 bucks, not that I would use his hat(tossed it). My logic is this, if I ever needed gas to get home or food to feed myself, I would part with a (hat, belt, road flare, cd. ect.) Makes me sick how some people look for handouts in a deceitful way. I manage to stay afloat when I’m broke without lying to con people out of their money. Furthermore if I where homeless I would proly look for handouts on food as well not just money. A soup kitchen with a ton of other homeless people don’t always beat the sound of McDonalds. If I could get over the issue of pride, I’m sure I wouldn’t mind going to dinner with a random person at McDonalds; if that were the stipulation for a free meal that I didn’t necessarily need. I have taken a homeless person to McDonalds before. I’ve donated time and money to various different programs that help people. So in closing, no one has the answers on knowing if someone is sincere after 30 seconds. But don’t make it ez for them, because obviously they got to the point where it is ez to ask hundreds of people in a day. It’s not like we live in a 3rd world country. I work hard for food and a pretty nice lifestyle. Why shouldn’t they. I would take whatever work I could get, if I found myself in rough times.

26 jerry May 16, 2009 at 12:22 pm

you are totally wrong i am 19 and homeless and do not do drugs or any thing else . if i am living on the streets and i desperately need money to buy some sort of shelter. there are a few crack head but most homless pepole are down on their luck. you should look into this more befor you jump to a conclushion just because that one time.

27 Matt May 19, 2009 at 2:07 am

Thank you for this.
Even though i only looked this up for an in-class debate, it has opened my eyes to some extent.

28 Mike May 28, 2009 at 1:35 pm

For me it’s been more than one time someone has taken advantage of kindness, it has happened many times. There should be some way of proving yourself, I mean if the positions were reversed I would love a chance to prove that I’m worth the investment, that I could rise out of a slump in my life. I would give someone a chance, but how? I don’t want to throw my money at someone who doesn’t try to get on their own feet, and only rely on others. Maybe some sort of progress report. Like hey, if you didn’t hire me, at least write why you wouldn’t so I can show people I’m trying. Because as it is, day in day out I see the same person(s) walking the streets asking for money longer hours than I’m at work. With the energy and dedication I’m sure it could be redirected to getting real work where you are giving something back. I feel homeless people get too use to handouts. I mean don’t get me wrong this would be a hard life, but begging for money is a basic survival skill that is not giving back to anyone.

29 It'sMe August 20, 2009 at 9:49 am

I was fortunate enough to go on a retreat with my church where we lived like the homeless for three days. We slept in parking lots inside boxes. We were given a few dollars by the people who ran the retreat, and were only permitted to bring a few canned food items. We actually talked to some homeless people. One thing I’ll never forget is that they said that it isn’t anyone else’s concern about what they do with the money they get. Yes, some could spend the money on booze or drugs, but even they have to eat. They also sometimes reject food because they know that people only give them what they would normally throw away, or what they don’t see as fit to eat.

I give a few dollars to people if I have it on hand, but I also keep some sort of canned food(like canned spaghetti) in my car to offer.

30 StrugglinSingleMom October 22, 2009 at 4:27 pm

I don’t think it is fair to assume that just because a few people may or maynot handle the little money you give them as a valid excuse not to give anyone anything. Just admit it all of you who are selfish and care only about yourself. You just don’t want to give. You don’t have love or compasion and because it is not you (yet) or yours you just don’t give a care. But God is going to judge you on whether you give or not that person didn’t cross your path for nothing. The Word of God says that money answereth all things. It’s not for any of you to decide whether this person is doing right or not give for it is better to give than receive. 1. you have it to give. 2. There are over 2,000 scriptures in the Bible that refer to the poor one of which says “the poor will always be with us.” Also Jesus said “if you do it unto the least of them you’ve done it unto me.” for when you give unto the poor you give unto the Lord and you can’t out beat God giving. Whether the person does right or wrong you won’t miss your reward beside you never know if you entertain an angel unawares.

31 StrugglinSingleMom October 22, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Then it tickles me too how some of you are so concerned about what theyre going to do with the money and you assume they don’t want to work. I want to work. I’m currently going to school and I have a cheap house i’m renting but because i lost my fixed income and I don’t get that much child support and because i’m on probation. I can’t find a job. Now granted this is my first and only conviction, im a christian, i don’t drink or smoke or take drugs. But you ask people for something they instantly judge and look down on you like you’re nothing. The homeless yes even the drug addicts, alcholics and mental patients are people too. I’m in danger of being homeless. Everyone is not the same that ask you. And if some of you with means to really help like hire these people put them in a home give them some clothese and shoes won’t because all you care about is you and yours. But I’m glad I don’t depend on man I choose to trust God. At the same time though God uses people to bless they just have to be willing and obedient. Example The good samaritian. God likes it when we go above and beyond you never know you might be blessed with something you always wanted, you might prolong your life, the life of your children. It most likely is a test from God just to see where your heart is. Man looks at the outward appearance (but thank God) God looks at the heart. Don’t go to hell over a few pennies read Matthew 24 or 25 about Jesus saying you denied me clothese, food, etc. I’m telling you the door will be shut. These people may not matter to you but God loves them there are some great and might people who are, who were, and who are yet to be and if people would only show some mercy can be again.

32 Muhammad Rafique December 7, 2009 at 8:45 am

hi… I read the several comments i only say that homless person knows better his problems. i earn my means day and night but i could not buy or build my home. economy of my country falling badly curuption is up breading poor man is hand to mouth to feed their children in pakistan education and health is very costly in this country.so i request my brothers and sisters, mothers to help me that i build my home i m hoeless i promise i will retern all debt according to promise.
gujrat. pakistan

33 Linn December 20, 2009 at 10:05 pm

I find that the reason homeless people prefer being given money over food is because they can buy stuff with it. Then the argument it is what will they buy with the money drugs, alcohol who knows. Perhaps they will buy food, warm food. I meant a man who was homeless, he had a bag filled with food people had given him; most of it was power bars or candy bars. I was trying to get all of my screaming kids into the car. They just wanted food, so he let them choose from his bag whatever they wanted. As we talked I found out that he was saving up for a hotel room.
I believe that most teenagers are more likely spend their money or their parents money on drugs or alcohol than a homeless person is to spend his little saved up cash on it. I understand why they refuse food. Who wants a power bar or a banana when its freezing outside and you would love a warm cup of coffee. The only time I feel guilt, is when I don’t have any money to give them.

34 Sheila December 26, 2009 at 9:22 am

If you don’t know which homeless pesons are being honest or dishonest, spend some time with them or watch them at different parts of the day to find out your answer. I am homeless, single with no kids, lost my job because of a work accident, lost my home , my insurance that I did have through work, and because I have no kids, I cannot get help in anything. Because of being terminated from my job because of no longer being able to do it because of permanent injury from work, I’ve been denied unemployment, denied medicaid, denied food stamps, being denied a job because of being on sedentary work only with additive restrictions. You people aren’t being too selfish, just ignorant then arrogant that’s all. Just ignorant and then arrogant. But if your house catches on fire and you loose everything in that fire or someone, you have no sympathy from me.

35 Michele January 3, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I think all homeless people are different. Their situations are different. Their personalities – and intentions – are different. Many of the homeless I have been helping are homeless because they lost their jobs, or have been phased out of foster care, etc. It isn’t because of drugs, alcohol, or gambling, like many of you suspect.

But, for the most part, I do prefer to help in numerous other ways instead of handing cash over – like take supplies (food, scarves, hats, blankets, toiletries, etc.) to local shelters or donate my time. I’ve also been directly involved in helping out with car gas or with housing, but I don’t always give money directly to the homeless – and I have a true, genuine, empathetic heart for them.

I’m a very good judge of character, though, so when I truly feel in my heart to give cash, I do.

And if you do take a little time to talk to the homeless, a lot of the time you will find they’re not bad people – they’re just in a bad situation….

Just a thought.

36 Eva January 8, 2010 at 7:55 pm

I lived for 3 and half year as an homeless in USA. I am from Sweden and I had no money at all because I couldn’t get help from any social organisation because I wasn’t USA citizen.

I was eating with homeless people in Virginia beach area and one day when they felt they could trust me being one of them did they told me they all was retired or mental sick and got money from being it of the common wealth.

They told me they had monthly money coming in for being disabled and they had between $600 – 800

For $600 – 800 could they afford to renta room and not be homeless. I saw room for $75 per month to rent so they didn’t need to be homeless.

I refuse to give any homeless any money because it make them to not want to change their life when they can earn money in other ways than to work.

Short temporary homeless should we help but not those that stand in the corner beging because we do the opposite to help when we give them money for their addicitons.

37 Lisa Erin Brown January 10, 2010 at 3:07 pm

I live in Milwaukee (Wisconsin) and it is a city that has an estimated 15,000 – 20,000 homeless people. (We are a city of over half a million.) For the amount of homeless people we have, we only have six registered shelters. I’m a broke college student, but I donate a portion of my income every month and always provide for others.

You never know when you may be the person who needs the help.

38 Michele | aka Raw Juice Girl January 10, 2010 at 3:10 pm

@Lisa: I commend you for having a giving heart, and showing compassion. You are most definitely correct – none of us know when we may be the next one with no place to call home….

And, 15,000 – 20,000 homeless people? Wow. Those numbers are staggering. Sad, very sad. Seems the numbers are only growing every day – everywhere.

39 Murfomurf January 10, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I try to judge on an individual basis when I have something spare I could give. For instance, there are a lot of people in our city who are mentally ill and have prescriptions for medication which they can’t pay for- I have taken these people to the pharmacy and paid for the scripts (they’re cheap as they’re on a health care card anyway); I discovered a source of $5 pure woollen blankets and went and bought a stack and gave them out; to obvious drug addicts I DO give them a little money and tell them to think about going into rehab. Apart from that, I have had 2 homeless friends living in my house for 3 months and we have made each other a little happier. I never feel guilty when I can’t or don’t give as it’s my choice every time. I can’t fix the world.

40 Kyle Milliken January 19, 2010 at 10:12 pm

I give money to bums, crack head or not… In fact i encourage giving large amounts of money to crack heads. In increasing the chances they will “shop till they drop” (as one crack head put it when i offered him a dollar).

If you know what i mean…

Shop till i drop..

aka, smoke crack till i die.

41 Eva January 20, 2010 at 2:13 am

That’s total evil to do such things Kyle.

I think you give them money because you are happy that they are there in their addiction and not you.

To be happy for another persons struggle in life is to belong to satan’s kids.

42 joe f teapot March 3, 2010 at 3:19 am

Lol@homeless, i gave until i realized the same person is standing in most of the places i encountered homeless over and over again for months and even in several cases years. no pity, i’ve had friends as poor as dirt, they atleast try to make their lives better rather than spending 10 hours a day begging for money for (what? obviously not food, because like has been pointed out they are not hungrey, they’re addicted, to something god knows what)

43 joe f teapot March 3, 2010 at 3:20 am

they’re saving? saving for what? more cocaine? tell them to switch to crack, it’s cheaper.

44 joe f teapot March 3, 2010 at 3:21 am

also to the pakistan comment, honestly dude i’d cut my wrists if i woke up tommorow in a radical islamic country.

45 anonymous March 19, 2010 at 4:22 am


You could just as likely have had the wool pulled over your eyes by a nice guy routine, banking that next time you will repay him for his kindness.

46 John M March 19, 2010 at 4:37 am


How the hell are you homeless at 19? Get kicked out of the house by your folks? I find it more plausible you one of these “professional homeless” we keep discussing, considering that you were able to afford to get online and post on this blog.

47 Austin A. March 19, 2010 at 6:56 pm

One time, I gave a homeless man $15. He said he was going to buy groceries for him and his kid. So, I felt bad, and gave him the money. I was curious and watched him walk away. Guess where he went…. Straight into an alcohol store.

48 Blaine April 8, 2010 at 9:21 am

Giving money to the homeless is like feeding rodents! They are smelly, disgusting, disease spreading vermin. If people could just stop giving them money they would stop asking everyone for change.

49 Markie April 12, 2010 at 9:50 am

I use to think the same way about not giving money to homeless people but my cousin ricky cahnged my mind because he said ” its the right thing to do beacuse at least i know i did my part by helping and how ever he spends it thats his problem I tried”. and thats right if you give it to them at least you did try if you dont want to give them money then dont

50 Kat April 19, 2010 at 8:27 am

I don’t think that just giving money is “trying.” My husband and I for the most part do not give money. We will give sort of “care packages.” It contains some inexpensive items, usually at least one meal that is non-perishable, maybe a toothbrush and floss. extra bottle of water, and a shirt. (when a local thrift store has their $1 per bag sell we stock up) Of course we live in a place that everyone has a car so this may not be practical for true city dwellers. If it is an issue, maybe donate to a church or other program. A few pennies here and there may help your conscience, but an act of kindness can really make a difference.

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