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?

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to my RSS feed or via email for free updates.

{ 4 trackbacks }

squawkfox » Carnival of Personal Finance: City Slickers Edition
August 4, 2008 at 4:31 am
Spend Less - Live More « Persistent Illusion
August 4, 2008 at 2:03 pm
Frugal Confessions - Spreading Hope in a Spaghetti Jar
December 10, 2012 at 3:05 am
Marketing Websites ListAffiliate Marketing Made Easy
March 16, 2013 at 12:52 am

{ 112 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kimberly June 1, 2010 at 9:49 am

The comments that I have read here just make me sick. I am on the absolute verge of becoming homeless and I am not a rodent. I have three beautiful, well-groomed, above average intelligence children. I am a daycare teacher, and in school to receive my undergraduate degree, then (was) planning on going towards my graduate in psychology. I am also a veteran, and because of a by-law that is never mentioned, I will not be getting my educational benefits this summer. Which leaves me with no way to pay my bills. at all. Sometimes everything just crumbles down around you at once and there is no way out of it because people with the same mentality that all of you have are the only ones around

2 Seth July 6, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Kimberly,

Life’s not fair and it has brought you where you are via your decisions and chance. Yes, it does not sound like a good place but with hard work and some help from family, friends and many of the organizations and government agencies that exist to help people like you you should be able to recover.

3 Marc July 31, 2010 at 8:40 pm

The amazing thing is all of the different types of homeless people. There are hobos that sleep in their cars, pickup-bed campers, and even tents at local campgrounds. They often have families, but they try to EARN a living by offering to clean windshields, trim tree limbs, trade scrap metal and so on. In a few cases these folks may ask for handouts if they’re in a bind, but they often have too much pride. There are even some cases of people working full or part time jobs but technically homeless.

In a few cases they will be homeless for a short time and get back on their feet again and live successful lives, especially with help from family or community groups. But you have so many others that are homeless because they are mentally ill and can’t maintain healthy relationships with family, friends, coworkers and bosses. Yes, these folks will often spend your money on drugs or alcohol, but they have hit rock bottom with little hope left. They can’t set up bank accounts and save up handouts to pull themselves out of dispair. They can’t take the chance to let their day’s cash stay in their pocket overnight because the other street people will mug them. So if they have too much cash they will spend it quick on the best drugs or alcohol they can get.

They look like trash, smell like trash, dress like trash, have no references, no reliable transportation, no resume, often can’t comprehend an employment application, and in many cases aren’t physically fit for strenuous day labor. Thousands die on the street every year from treatable and curable diseases or freezing to death. The more time on the street the more deranged (and dangerous) they get, especially in areas without any public assistance.

Most major cities do have programs to help the chronically homeless, and just because these homeless people look healthy enough to work, they would not be if left alone on the streets. People complain about the government helping the homeless as if their tax dollars were personally being robbed from their pockets to provide a living to those too lazy to work, but originally this was not the case. Trust me, you don’t want to live in an area that lets their homeless go without any help at all. VERY dangerous places they are.

However, what you see more often these days are people who have learned to take advantage of people. People who scammed and stole from their friends, neighbors, and employers and have no one to help them now, except charity groups and government assistance. Once they find that they qualify they take full advantage of whatever they can get, pretend to seek honest work in order to rip off home owners with common repair scams, occasionally rob and steal, and aggresively seek handouts. You can usually tell the difference between a scam artist pan-handler and the true homeless. The truly homeless guy is passed out in an alley with no one helping him while the scam artist is the slightly better dressed, coherent speaker with a well played sob story – and often with a warm apartment to go home to after pretending to “live” on the street. It ticks me off when they don’t remember you and give you the same story a year later about just getting kicked out of their home by a crooked landlord.

So, yes, I do give to homeless even if I know they will spend it on drugs or alcohol. Most shelters only provide short term assistance and you might be surprised to learn that many of these programs require homeless people to wait on a list, and they often require the homeless to contribute some cash to the programs that are benefitting them. So, to a certain degree, they are almost expected or required to ask for handouts if they can’t figure out how to earn it.

Sure I could blame them for not working hard in school, not putting effort into their social skills or taking that first drink, but it’s too late for that now. The question is, do I want to be surrounded by destitute people with absolutely nothing to lose? People whose life can’t get any worse by killing me for the cash in my wallet? Or would I rather live in a society with a baseline below which on one can fall under? An expectation that no matter how bad it gets there will be at least one or two cold meals a day, a blanket, sometimes a bed, emergency medical treatment, maybe even programs that can help those lives which can still be salvaged.

I’m not saying that it’s the government’s responsibility, the church’s responsibility, or your responsibility. But I would prefer to live in an area where extreme poverty does not become a threat to those who are perceived to have more than enough, such as myself. I don’t feel that it’s a waste to give a dollar directly to a homeless man. But it won’t make a huge impact in his life or mine. I wouldn’t bother to give to any panhandler if the local support systems didn’t have cracks in them. I try to give excuses to the obvious scam artists, like “just spent it at the gas station”. I try to help when I can by volunteering and contributing to national and international missions work. And while religious based, the groups I support do not withhold aid from those of other faiths. Not only are they better off, but the working and successful people in their communities are better off too. History has shown that the “let them eat cake approach” is not healthy for the rich or the poor.

4 tyler September 25, 2010 at 11:23 am

Hey, I was readign this article and thought that I should say something.

I used to be homeless. I have a MFA degree from a great college, and great number of friends and family. But, I was traveling on my own for a little while and ran into some financial difficulties which lead to me not having a penny anymore. No, I didn’t do drugs, gambling, or alcohol, but rather student bills and hospital bills took everything.

I did my best to get by, dropping my pride to check into a shelter (which I was put on the waiting list and had to “donate” a little money to stay in)…I had no access to bank accounts due to that I was without a residence, I had no library card due to no residence, I had no benefits due to that I made too much money (over $6,000 last year) to be poverty, but I don’t any money now.

I was forced to asked for money or handouts, which I hated but I needed to do it so I could get enough gas to get out of this jobless town but not one person would give me a couple bucks.

SO, my point is, not every homeless person you see on the street is on the street because of drugs, alcohol, or crimes. It’s just circumstances that led us to the street and we do that best we can.

5 Patrick January 26, 2011 at 4:44 am

Intresting, I have read all the comments, thought about everything and just needed to let it out. For many years i have been giving money to homeless people, helping where I can. Some of our comments above is hard, cold, warm and loving bringing in a sad portion as well. Around our cities we have children begging, men and women begging at intersections, corners of the streets.

Yes, you might say it is a result of choices that they have made. I’m a christian I believe in Jesus Christ and in his word. The bible teaches us that we should give without having second thoughts so we give not just because it is the right thing to do but we are sowing into other peoples lives. But is this really what the word intended?

Staying homeless is a choice. It is written that from the sweat of your brow you shall eat. I think people of today have just become to lazy they want every thing for free and want the maximum for the least amount of effort. There is ample work out there but we are not satisfied with the pennies and few pounds they pay we seek thousands and even millions and believe it is our right to have that. It is true it is our right but we need to work for it. We need to put in the effort to get the resualts,

I don’t give homeless people on the streets money any more and it breaks my heart, but i know i’m doing the right thing. I’M NOT PAYING THEM TO STAY ON THE STREETS.

Kimberly made a point and this is where the diffrence comes in. People in Kimberly’s position is the ones we should look after. They work pay taxes try everything to keep their famalies afloat but still fall due to the educational systems not teaching our children how business works and how you should think when leaving schools. It is a totally diffrent word out their.

If you want to give give it to people that will appriciate it more and value the gift you have given them and they will do the same when their sitiuations change.

6 barclay March 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm

i just gave $ to a beggar on the subway. if the sob story was a lie then shame on them – not me. i also give to modestneeds.com to help prevent other people from having to ask for money on the subway. all things being relative – a dollar here and there is not much to me but may make a big difference to someone who has none. if they are taking advantage of my good will, i guess that’s their issue. i don’t give to the stranded lady that lost her inhaler that i see everyday on michigan avenue, the one thats been at the same spot for 2 years.

7 Ian Romero March 27, 2011 at 10:51 am

Your opinions on homeless are sickening, You guys need to be homeless once, and then maybe you,ll understand! . There are people who bring it on them selves, and people who dont. People who go around collecting cans instead of asking you for money are ones who wish they could have done different, “people are people ”

being the judge of someone is not your place.
thinking your better then someone is just as bad.

8 Scott April 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm

NEVER give money to a homeless person. You can give them information on shelters, services, and places where they can get get free food or meals. (Though most of them already know about these places, as they visit them frequently whenever they aren’t stealing, doing drugs, or tricking people into giving them money)

I’ve seen homeless people ask for money inside McDonald’s because they are “so hungry” and then the second the person gave her money she ran out the door. I’ve seen homeless people checking to see if doors are locked on cars in parking lots and then have the audacity to ask people they encounter for money.

If you are going to donate your money donate it to a shelter, food drives, homeless services centers.. etc.

Some homeless people have my sympathy, some have my pity, but most I just hold disdain for. I’ve been a victim of homeless theft and car break-ins too many times to care if they freeze to death on the street.

9 Ray WC April 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm

1. On mis-diagnosis: Ask yourself if there is any reason, any crime you could commit that is so heinous, that you yourself would deserve to be on the street. Or, as Christians ask themselves on Good Friday, is there any cause, any person so wonderful, that you would allow your only child to die for it? Every person without a home is someone’s baby, and we as a society ought to be ashamed of ourselves that we allow our brothers and sisters to spend the night on the street. I am not saying that each and every one of these people are good and right and noble persons. They may be far from Martin Luther King, Jr’s. But what I am saying is that MLK fought for justice during the day before he slept with women who weren’t Coretta Scott at night; and for even that hypocrisy, he wasn’t on the street and could accomplish great things. In other words, one’s doing “evil” does not merit no home. Homelessness is absolutely a societal problem, not an individual one. To blame it on them is just as absurd as hating Jews because they killed Jesus.

2. On individualism: The problem of Western society, which is to say bureaucracy, hierarchy, and elitism, cannot be solved by more bureaucracy, hierarchy, and elitism, which is exactly what aid groups perpetuate. Perhaps it is worth your dollar to allow a person the dignity of choosing what to do with that money.

3. On drugs: Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive substance on the planet. According to Wikipedia, 90% of North American adults are daily users. If coffee were suddenly made very expensive and illegal, how many of us would spending large amounts of money to get our fix? Many prescription drugs are expensive and addictive: how many of us are on versions of Stratera, which, let’s be honest, is time-release speed? If these drugs were suddenly not covered by our insurance and illegal, what kinds of sordid situations would we be in then? I only make this point to say again, homelessness is societal and not individual. The strongest thing we who are blessed to not be homeless can do for those who are is to fight against the current system of alienation, restrictive laws, and, well, capitalism … but until the revolution, giving two dollars to the Vietnam vet on the corner is a gift of grace we can afford.

10 Alex Leibowitz May 22, 2011 at 7:49 pm

It isn’t really a gift if you expect the recipient to use the money as you see fit and not as he or she does. The whole point of the exchange is that once you give them the money, it’s no longer yours to spend — it’s theirs. That’s what makes the gift generous — you don’t expect a return and you don’t pretend you know the other person’s good better than that one self.

11 charles matrau May 26, 2011 at 2:47 am

Due to an inaction of congress i did not recieve my military pay lost my apartment and was temporarily homeless . I of all people now realise how easy it is to fall into this unfortunate situation…. until it happens to you you dcan never understand

The old homeless vet begging on the street because he lost his mind in vietnam is an attrocity if you cannot open your heart to someone like that please shoot yourself

12 LALALA June 12, 2011 at 3:23 am

No, don’t give money to homeless. They can live on social benefit. So many people work so hard to earn just a little money why give money to the lazy people? Homeless receive more money than a person working in McDonalds, but one worked so hard and one sat so hard.

13 Alex Leibowitz June 12, 2011 at 11:27 am

I don’t see it as rewarding people for their misbehavior but compensating them for their misfortune — it’s a dollar or even a quarter. I’m sure you can afford it. Even if you work at McDonald’s.

14 rent textbooks online June 13, 2011 at 6:56 am

I think the majority of people give money to homeless people is because we feel sorry for them and it helps us feel better about ourselves. I give sometimes, but not on the regular.

15 Dan June 18, 2011 at 6:36 pm

So if I understand you correctly, you do not give money to homeless people because you think you are superior to them? Yes, you may not have said this directly. However, you said you don’t give money because you don’t know what they are going to do with it. So you are basically saying that they are not responsible enough to be given money from the almighty you. You also said they sometimes aren’t thankful. That is not up to you to judge. Maybe they do not express thankfulness in the same way you do. Based on your commentary, I can say with confidence that you would not spend enough time with them to even understand their situation or personality. The only thing different between you and a homeless man is that you have not had a trying time in life yet. Most homeless people are homeless because of unfortunate circumstances that leave them without an income. I hope that you either take a step back and see you are no better than them, or have trying times yourself so that you can experience the other side of the issue. You are a prime example of why I cannot stand the general American public. Americans are so full of themselves and think that they have earned every little bit of their “great life” when in actuality most of that was provided for you either by parents or by living in a developed country. So congratulations sir to fitting into the stereotype of a selfish, cold-hearted, cut-throat bitchy American.

16 Larry June 18, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Hmmm -

Does your mom or dad make a condition of giving, you telling them how you are going to spend it ? Does your employer refuse to pay you with out an itemized list of what you will spend it on ? Do your friends insist on knowing what your going to do with the 10 bucks you just asked for ? It sounds to me like you have no vices (smoking, drinking, drugs, girls, techno-addiction or other faults.)

Rule #1 – Judge not least you be judged. Always sounded good to me.

. . . aren’t thankful ? Throw cake away cause they perfer pie ? Hmm, maybe cake makes me sick and I only eat rice. Why should you feel so slighted? Have you ever had a bad day ? Someone on the street may have more than one or two.

Rule #2 – Never expect anything. You’ll never be disappointed.

I am always excited about a good conversation – even if I pay for it – but usually conversation is free, if I need money and have to, I ask. Donating is great but does nothing for the individual asking you for a donation.

Rule #3 – Always give freely of yourself, time, work, money. Give what you can to your fellow humans, in the end you will be richer for it.

Guilt – what an interesting concept – Doesn’t that imply you feel like you should and is the result of not doing it. I know it is a big word for law, psychology and such, but I’m pretty dumb and have never felt guilt. Hope I don’t.
Is the act of giving a selfish act?
Interesting caveat to close with – almost makes me feel as if you feel “guilty” for not giving.

Obviously you are young, privileged, middle-class and come with all the accolades of that class. Yet I feel compelled to suggest that there are many other classes in the world and you are indeed being judged in your actions, writings, and lifestyle. Give much more thought to what you write down least you be judged wrongly.

17 Bliz Wolfman June 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Well I was homeless a couple times. Mostly due to the shitty economy or when my parents kicked me out at 16. First of all people think that there are shelters people can go to get out of the cold. Yes there are be the space is really limited. Normally there are enough shelters for about 25-35% of the homeless numbers. Normally a good part are reserved for women and children, I am okay with that. Also if you don’t have a drug, drinking, mental issue, you have even less chance to get into a shelter.

Now a christian thing to do is to give the money and not think about where it is going. This is a true meaning of charity and you will get rewarded in the end.

The last point is, you say if you donate to charity that you at least know where your money goes to. Well no, no you don’t. One shelter I stayed at for a while got a shit ton of money donated to it. What they did was recruited the homeless there as workers and paid them nothing really. Even forced them to stay inside the shelter for a good couple months to be in their work program. The people were pretty shitty to the homeless but they got millions donated to them by sears, all the food was donated, they had solar power, and the city even waived their water and property taxes. So the top “christian” people running the place makes around 100,000 each to run the shelter, that really doesn’t seem very right. There is no real limit on how much a shelter can spend on “administrative costs” either. So before you go on a rant about giving directly to the shelters, they dont help most of the people on the streets, only about 25% and some but not all are corrupt people who run them.

18 Dan June 30, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Broke Grad,

I completely agree with you. Before I moved to a densely homeless populated city, I had much more sympathy. I live in San Francisco now, downtown, and there’s no shortage of bums. I see the same guys out in their same “spots”, everyday. They never want a conversation or food, they rattle change cups at me, use dogs as manipulative mechanisms, and have signs that frankly half the time lie. I.e., there’s a woman whose had a cardboard sign saying “help, Im pregnant”…..for over a year. If you go to the public rail stations, the same homeless go there and hit up everyone for “coffee” money Most of the bums downtown specifically PREY on tourist’s pity.

The more homeless you actually encounter, the less pity you have. Especially if you are dirt poor yourself and work your ass off. The exceptions are the extremely mentally impaired (people talking to themselves and the like), and people who dont ask for anything. There was a guy who used to sit on the street, but he NEVER asked anyone for change. He would save up his change and come into my work to buy food, never asked for a discount. He was polite, smelled terrible, but always seemed like a good guy. Sometimes I threw him in some extra food or dropped off something on my way past him because he was always grateful. If more homeless were like him, I’d be much less aggravated.

19 adrenalynn July 1, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Broke Grad,

I’m currently a broke grad student and love ways to be more frugal. However, I wholeheartedly disagree with skimping out on generosity towards the needy as a way to be frugal.

I live in Canada, where there are a lot of homeless on the streets despite our heavily subsidized welfare and health care system. I know, through my education and personal experience, that you absolutely cannot generalize about people in need just to save a few bucks. No one is immune to poverty on this planet – not matter how hard they work – this recent recession have shown us that (furthermore, take a trip to a developing nation and you’ll see that wealth is not directly related to the amount of work you put in). I understand your reasons for not giving, albeit they are not too well informed. You ask if we give not because of altruism but just so we can feel better about ourselves and less guilty. I ask, do you generalize about the homeless just so you, yourself, can feel less guilty?

In high school and the beginning of undergrad, I use to give $1 or 2 to every single homeless person that I see in Toronto because I had the good fortune of loving parents who would take care of me if I needed it, whereas these others are not so lucky. I continued to give until this year – when I gave up my job to focus on my studies. I realized that I cannot give as much anymore. So I cut it down and became a little more selective. Now, until I get a job again, it’ll only be $0.50 to $1 here and there – mostly to the elderly, disabled or those who superficiously looked like they needed it the most. I know that you can’t judge how people will spend the money (and I’ve received my share of rudeness), but honestly, $1 to me is not going to matter as much as someone who is resorting to begging. Instead of keeping the $1, why not forgo that coffee or the more expensive lunch option?

20 Freda Hickmon July 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Hey there,You have a nice Website. Will be back to check it out again soon. Till than have a Nice day!

21 Christine September 18, 2011 at 8:42 pm

I agree with your article completely. I don’t give any money to the homeless anymore. I’ve had many unpleasant encounters with homeless people. In fact today my dad and I were attacked by one. We were sitting in our car at a stop light and a homeless man was crossing the street. He seemed off. Anyway,he took a black bag out and started throwing things at my car. So, I honked at him. Big Mistake! He turned around and ran towards my car screaming. I hadn’t done anything to him. He was taking all his anger out on us. As if we were the reason that he was homeless. I was terrified! When I finally was able to drive around him. He said, “Fuckin Honda” What the hell??? I wanted to use a taser gun on him. People like this should be locked up. They are burden to society.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. I’m not saying ALL homeless people are like this. Just the ones that are mentally ill.

22 Spencer September 28, 2011 at 8:48 am

I just cut right to the chase and give them cigarettes, alcohol, and cash. And then engage them in some witty banter. It makes both their day and mine.

23 Michael September 28, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I don’t think it’s fair to assume that all homeless people are addicts. As a few of the posters here attested, more often than not it’s a stroke of massively bad luck. Who’s to say that you yourselves won’t one day end up in the same situation as those homeless people you denounce? While I agree there are people who do the whole begging thing professionally and scam people (I’ve seen a few), there are those people that genuinely need help. Keep that in mind.

24 Ian September 30, 2011 at 12:28 am

@Kimberly: I highly doubt that. You obviously have enough money to maintain a computer. Also, thank you for reaffirming the stereotype of all parents are deluded in thinking that parents their kids are highly intelligent when they’re really of average intellect.

25 adrenalynn September 30, 2011 at 9:20 am

Ian, I believe Kimberly said that she’s on the verge of being homeless. Hence it makes perfect sense why she has access to a computer. Now, the question becomes, who are you to judge how she is accessing the computer? Perhaps she is doing so from the library, or a friend’s home, etc. Also, who cares if her children are or are not, in yours or her opinion, of above-average intelligence? It was a minor minor detail in her personal story that you’re nitpicking about.
I know you’re just trying to discredit people but come on.

26 lollipop October 4, 2011 at 11:20 am

I never give money to the homeless anymore. It’s not because they might spend it on drugs or alcohol, but simply because they tell everyone about it. I encountered this old man on a cane who looked so pitiful my heart broke. I gave him $5 dollars. Afterwards, I walked up a couple blocks to cross the street and when I looked to my left, lo and behold he was showing the money to several other homeless people and pointing me out. The next day I had literally 5 homeless people ask me for money. Some of them were the same ones to which he had pointed me out. I continued to give, but the more I gave the more people asked. Now, I walk everywhere (I don’t drive) and I’m a girl, so I get really uncomfortable and sometimes afraid when I’m approached by all these people. I also am a college kid living off tiny paychecks so I can’t really afford to give all that much. I do feel bad for people and try not to judge even if they do use drugs. Now that I say no, no one ever asks anymore. Occasionally, some will yell or curse at me, but I hold my ground and can even understand. It must be horrible to have people look at them like they’re parasites. The only exceptions I’ve made have been when I encounter homeless vets trying to make things or clean windows for cash. However, they’re a very proud species. If they feel any ounce of charity in my donation, they refuse flat out to accept. I don’t think I’ve ever had to sweet talk someone so profusely into taking my money. My mom has donated money to shelters, but where we used to live there was a lot of corruption and most of the time only 10% of the money actually went to the shelter. There needs to be better safety nets for people and better ways to help people get back on their feet. Welfare here is such a trap. Once people get in, it’s really hard to get back out.

27 daedae October 8, 2011 at 8:43 pm

I am living in my home that I bought 11 years ago, I lost my job last year and and I will soon be broke and have to leave all that I worked for, I have looked for jobs , only to get discourage, I know that when they tell me that I have to leave my home because of non payment I will be crushed, I feel like a dead man walking, but because of people like you, you can bet, I will not beg for anything, I don’t want your handouts, I’ll go to the gallows with if nothing else, my pride

28 Lindsey November 18, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Just gotta say…the author / this post absolutely REEKS of entitlement and privilege. He has obviously never been homeless himself or gone overly long without a meal. I could go on, but I’d rather spend my time with and on human beings worthy of my time…and the author of this post is neither.

I’m glad there are less callous and judgmental people out there, even if they are the minority, because they make this life worth it. No man is an island.

29 Amanda November 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I agree Lindsey, the author does not understand anything about homelessness. His begging takes the shape of an online blog in which he is paid to have obnoxious advertisements on his website. Silly me for even reading this and making him some more money

30 blackblood 18 December 18, 2011 at 9:10 pm

dude you are a dick yeah they can take that money and shit on it but u never know what tomorrow can bring your ass can be homeless and i hope u feel there pain some day then youll read this and regreat not helping that man

31 Joel January 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I usually do give money to homeless person if I encounter them, even if they do buy drugs or whatever at least I know I gave them the money for the right reasons. With that being said though, I lately have been very skeptical of who I give it to, b/c I had an encounter w/ a homeless guy that really broke my heart when he was telling me his situation, but as times went buy I saw how unappreciative he really was, it was like the more money I gave him the more shit he would get himself into. He was one of those who would ask you to buy him food, haul him everywhere, and THEN still ask you to borrow money. He was one of those that instead of you helping him get on his feet or helping him out of his situation or guiding him in the right direction, he would just end up dragging you down with him in his mess. In other words, “if I can’t be comfortable, no one can”. He had an excuse for EVERY fucking suggestion that I gave him. Keep in my I’m a broke student myself so I don’t have that much money to give. On the other hand though, my mom encountered a homeless person, who ask her for money b/c he was hungry, she gave it to him, and he did use it for food, he even bought his friend some (he showed her the food and introduced his friend). So not all homeless people are bums, so to say to never give any money to someone homeless is insensitive b/c you never know where you may end up. Many people are falling on hard times, people who have never had to use public assistance are being placed into situations that they have to use it now. So count your blessings, but still don’t be stupid, be careful about who you do decide to give money to. I had to stop giving my case money b/c he did everything except what he said he needed it for b/c he always needed to borrow money, and the more I dished, the worse off he got. So I just am skeptical, but you can identify bums or those who have fallen on hard time.s

Homeless people who have fallen on hard times will ask you for spare change and usually let you go on about your business

Bums will want to follow you, and milk you for everything you’ve got, and even after they have cleaned you dry, they still will ask you for more. They are full of excuses.

Sorry for rambling, but just wanted to put in my two cents.

32 Kenb January 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm

These are not reasons they are clearly excuses. There are hundreds if not thousands of people in need of these hand outs thanks to a couple of our past presidents especialy the one who seen to it that single men and non pregnant women or women without kids get absolutly no help from welfare.
You just don’t care and use these excuses as a means to justify your guilt.

33 Kenb January 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Again I say, Scott, Patrick, barclay, and the rest of you who don’t give to the homeless are just using the very few examples you state here to justify your greed and guilty feelings. barclay maybe the woman who lost her inhaler stays there not because she found a good money spot but because she doesn’t have anywhere else to go because she has tried and continues to be told no I don’t care to help you by others like you so why bother. Like others have said here you should be homeless and hungry and have nowhere to go because you were told you had to be on a waiting list for who knows how long before you can get a bed and some food to eat.

34 Kenb January 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm

In conclusion all you guilty greedy people shold stop putting all the homeless into one catagory like you been doing here which is drug taking alcaholics and thieves and sceemers because the vast majority are NOT! It wouldn’t hurt you to give a dollar every now and then I do and I don’t care what the homeless person does with it it’s only a dollar and I feel great for doing it because more times than not it will be used for something to eat or dring.

35 Kenb January 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Sorry for the miss spellings I am very angray at what I have read here.

36 Rent Textbooks Online January 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I don’t give money to homeless people I give them food and gift cards. to fast food restaurants.

37 Kenb January 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I would like to believe that however your story doesn’t express that nature of you.

38 Joel January 24, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Kenb, I would not go wishing poverty on anyone, that does not make you any better, yes some of the comments here are a little insensitive, mine might be considered insensitive by some (though I tried not to be, I thought I was pretty reasonable). But there are some people who do not want help and just want to milk ppl for all they are worth. There are so many frauds out there that unfortunately it is hard to distinguish who is legit and who is not so you just have to take the risk and help, even if they are frauds at least you know that you tried.

39 Joel January 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Might I add that the situation I was talking about was not merely 1 dollar here and there, this was $5, $10 increments, I was stupid for falling for his bullshit, but I have not given him anymore money b/c I see that he is not reliable.

40 peter johnson February 23, 2012 at 7:23 am

im a homeles man in denver,ive been unemployed 2.5 years now,ive got a felony conviction and for that reason alone ive had problems finding work,i use the public library computer to search craiglist and other job sites,i go to the daylabor halls at 4 am in the mornings looking for work,i cant find any,need help!if anyone reads this and can help out in anyway my email is pjohnson980@hotmail.com also my paypal account if anyone want to help out with a few bucks,thanks peter johnson

41 Kenb February 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Joel,
You didn’t state that as far as I can see in your previous posts so I can not believe you now sorry for that but I believe your first posts they state just where you are commi9ng from. You punish the legit so you can avoid the frauds 1dollar or five or ten it doesn’t matter. This is my last post I am not comming back her again.

42 Joel February 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm

What didn’t I state? I don’t punish anyone, I usually do take the risk and give it, but it’s seldom that I’m ever asked. I don’t encounter people like this like I did in the past. You don’t know me and I don’t know you so you have NO idea whatsover what I do. And the reason that I did not state the $1,$5,$10 increments in my initial post was because I felt that my message was getting too long, so I decided to wait, post that later on. Why would I lie about something like this? The guy is a leech, I know how this particular person that I am talking about operates b/c I have folks in my family that do the same thing. If you actually READ my first post, you’d see that I clearly sympathized w/ people falling on hard times. There are ppl using public assistance who have never had to do so, and I also said to flat out refuse to give any money was insensitive b/c it could happen to you. So you can’t believe me? Did you NOT see where I stated that I still WILL help, but I am a bit more careful about it now. Most cases I’ll give spare, but those cases like the one I dealt with. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO A MILLIONS TIMES NO NEVER AGAIN! I’m barely working myself, forgive me for wanting to keep some of my money and not use it to bail him out of his gangsta shit! Dueces!

43 3d max course June 13, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I love learning from others and this article shows me how much I still have to learn.
This is really an interesting blog……Thanks for sharing with us.

computer animation course

44 Summer June 15, 2012 at 11:30 am

I have read a lot of the comments above and I feel like the people with harsh comments must be those who have never bad a bad desision in their life. I know I have, I have made many and if it hadent been for family or friends willing to lend a helping hand who knows where I would be. So yes I give money to homeless people if I have a little change or cash on hand in the hopes that if I am ever in a situation and need a buck someone would help me. My father passed away a year and a half ago an he always gave whatever he could if he felt like they were honest, polite and thankful. We were once approached by someone asking for money because his car had broken down and needed to call a cab, you could tell he was trying to scam you and my dad asked him to walk away. Another time an older man walked up asking for change in the grocery store parking lot and my dad asked if he was hungry or just needed a beer and the man told him he needed a beer so my dad handed him a beer and a few bucks. Most are afraid that there money will go toward alcohol or cigarettes but man of I was homeless not knowing where or when I would eat or sleep I would probably need a drink too.

45 Joel June 16, 2012 at 7:59 am

LOL at summer, I will agree that I’d probably need a drink too if I was in a situation like that, but if I’m hungry, I think I’m going to want something to eat as well. But like I said, I usually do take the risk and help, b/c most of them just ask you for spare change and then they let you go on about your business. I go into more detail about some of my encounters here:

http://joelrionspointofview.blogspot.com/2012/06/to-give-or-not-to-give.html

46 Justin S July 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Maybe for the guy who makes homelessness a career. For the one starving, who just wishes to go home, probably is afraid to go to a shelter. Things happen beyond someones control, and they find themselves drowning. Why don’t you judge character, instead of presuming their all the same. I walked through the capital city downtown looking for a shelter. The doors were closed and windows boarded. Signs hanging on the door apologizing for lack of funds or food. The shelter has 200 beds, if you do have the courage to go, and 7000 people showing up to look at the winners of the “lottery,” prize being a place to sleep. I usually wouldn’t post but you make me sick. Am I going to go panhandle or beg, no I’m surviving long enough to get into classes at school. One day maybe you will be there and when I walk buy I’ll know by looking at you if your in need, and when I do help you can still show how you learned humility.

47 Joel July 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I find it funny that Kenb could not come back and face any of the people that he attacked. Not only did he distort my posts, but he makes a statement saying that this was his last time coming on here. Typical sissy behavior, they can dish it but they can’t take it. Also, he can’t spell his way out of a paper bag! Anyways, Justin S, I have never been to the capital city but would love to go. Shelters can’t do it all, and then, in addition to the lack of funds and food, sometimes, actually in many cases, they are restricted to women and children. Alot of them don’t give a shit about men. I generally do try to give spare if I have it, but like I said, I had an individual that I had to cut loose b/c he was one of those who seemed to make it more of a career than anything else.

48 American Cheese January 16, 2013 at 2:54 am

I ran into a beggar today in front of a store. He was dressed in good clothing and clean. He started to say he didn’t want to bother me, so I told him not to.

His response? “Nice attitude. Wait till you need help.”

My reply? “If I did need help, I wouldn’t be begging people for money they earn just to hand it to me.”

You never know if someone is really in need or just a con man trying to get money, so I usually assume it is the latter. Today’s economy and unemployment rate breed both, but the biggest problem I have with beggars is what I stated to the vagrant:

If you are earning money, you’ve probably given something of value to get it, whether it’s labor, services, or goods. You didn’t make it appear out of nowhere or get it as a donation. You probably would do something else, something you wanted to do, if you didn’t need to eat/live/buy things. Now here comes a beggar. Let’s really analyze what he’s asking you to do.

He is asking you to take money that you have earned, that took your time and effort to possess, and just give him some. No effort or work on his part (unless you consider the beggar’s pitch to be work), you get nothing of value in return, it will not get him out of his situation, and it just perpetuates his bothering others (and maybe you again with the same pitch).

Sympathy for truly compromised individuals is not foreign to me, but some con men can put on a very convincing show. The end result is that I generally tell beggars to go away. If they get mad, as today’s miscreant did, it’s a pretty good indicator that they are not in the dire straits that they are purporting to be in. They just want money.

Sorry, pal, you’re not in my budget.

49 Joel January 16, 2013 at 8:34 am

“I ran into a beggar today in front of a store. He was dressed in good clothing and clean. He started to say he didn’t want to bother me, so I told him not to.

His response? “Nice attitude. Wait till you need help.”

My reply? “If I did need help, I wouldn’t be begging people for money they earn just to hand it to me.’ ”

I’m sorry but I had to respond to th is one. We really cannot say what we would or would not do u ntil we have been there ourselves. That’s what I’ve learned in life. I’ve faced some hard times in life and when I have, I did not go be gging others, but I was certainly grateful when they cared enough to help me. So w/ that being said, if I see someone that just neends help, I give a little spare change. I don’t have much to give but if I can provide you w/ bus fare or a meal, then I find it heart warming to know that I helped someone.

50 L.Z. January 16, 2013 at 9:55 am

American Cheese,

Actually, I think you misinterpreted the situation. His comment to you wasn’t rude nor did he even ask you for anything (because you’d cut him off before he said anything else). The person in question sounded courteous by first stating that he didn’t want to bother you. Then you presumably treated him like sub-human by dismissing his comment and making an assumption about his intentions. Would you, as the civilized person that you think you are, really respond to a “I don’t want to bother you” from a boss or your spouse or anyone else with “Then don’t.”? If so, I really feel sorry for whoever associates with you on a regular basis. What someone dismissed you when you said “I don’t want to bother you…”? Would you not rant and rave about what a douche that person was? I don’t think anyone would say that his “nice attitude” retort is just given your lack regard for social etiquette. Couldn’t you have said, “sorry, I don’t have time” or “sorry, no”?

Look, the point is, have your philosophy about giving money and misguided notion about people asking for money. But at the end of the day, don’t ever treat people with disrespect. Many people on the streets have said that even if they don’t get anything, often times they feel empowered just to have someone look at them in the eye, with a smile and acknowledge their presence.

Also, FYI, f you ever needed dire help later in life, what will you do? Go on welfare? Asking friends and family for money to borrow? You think that doesn’t qualify as “begging people for money they earn just to hand it to me”?

Leave a Comment