To give money to a homeless person?

(117 Posts)
MissedSomeBullets Mon 10-Feb-14 10:07:10

(Promise this isn't one of those I did something nice and I know it but want others to know too type of threads haha)

Basically on Saturday night I was out with a group of friends having a few drinks. Two of them needed to go to the cashpoint so the rest of us were waiting outside for them in the freezing cold.

A homeless man was sat nearby, I can't even begin to imagine how hard living like that must be but in this current freezing temperatures it must make it that much worse.

I said I'm just going to give some change to that guy when my friend said no because he'll just use it to buy drugs.

Now I'm not naive but I wouldn't make a sweeping generalisation about a group of people that like. Whilst its better to give directly to a charity, I would chance it now and again that the money I give could be the difference of someone having a hot drink or bed for the night.

Aibu to give money?

formerbabe Mon 10-Feb-14 10:21:44

Its your money so your choice.

Personally, if I gave someone money, then once I have done its not up to me how they spend it.

If they want to buy drink/drugs, I can't say I blame them.

I can easily imagine how getting off your face is a tempting option in that situation.

normalishdude Mon 10-Feb-14 10:28:14

You can give money if you like, but it's probably more beneficial to the person to give a hot drink or some food (although many of them would say they prefer the money).

Objection Mon 10-Feb-14 11:04:40

I always ask if I can get them anything from a nearby shop, food or the like.
I'm more comfortable helping that way [shrugs].
A lot of people will come on here and say it's patronising to not give money.
It's kind of you to give anything, most people won't.

I give them money if i have some, and also food if i have some on me, to be honest if they are addicts they will get the money one way or another, whether it be through theft or prostitution, who is to for me to judge.

SooticaTheWitchesCat Mon 10-Feb-14 11:19:58

I have given change to homeless people before. I would hope they didn't buy drugs and used it for food but I wouldn't not give something because I thought they might. It must be awful to be on the streets and if my small amount of change helps in some way then I'm glad to help.

DrNick Mon 10-Feb-14 11:20:37

if you want to fund their drink or drug habit you go right ahead!

All I know for sure is if I lived on the streets I'd be an alcoholic or a drug addict very quickly.

I never understand how someone could be judgmental about that.

DrNick Mon 10-Feb-14 11:27:12

not being judgmental.
I am just saying that its inevitable that money will go to fund a habit.

DrNick Mon 10-Feb-14 11:28:24
squoosh Mon 10-Feb-14 11:29:45

If I give money to a homeless person I know there's a strong chance they will use it to buy alcohol or drugs. To be honest, it doesn't bother me. If I was on the streets I'd probably do the same. On the occasions I do give money it's because I can't imagine being ever brought so low and how that must feel.

If people don't want to give money, they don't need to but I hate when they then pretend it's for the homeless person's good.

WooWooOwl Mon 10-Feb-14 11:30:05

YANBU, it's your money and you can do what you want with it, including giving it to someone who might spend it illegally.

DrNick Mon 10-Feb-14 11:33:18

its easy to say it doesn't bother you, but it impacts on them and on us ( societally- anti social behaviour etc) and on the NHS.
Why would you willingly feed an addict? ALso interesting in those links how some refuse all help is homelessness becoming a life style choice?

Funnyfoot Mon 10-Feb-14 11:34:00

I don't give money but on a few occasions I have bought a burger meal and a hot drink for a homeless person. They were gratefully received with the last one telling me he couldn't buy food at that particular fast food place because they wouldn't serve him due to his clothes and smell but he loved the burgers so was happy for a short time.

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Mon 10-Feb-14 11:34:43

Your friend told you no, you may not do what you choose with your own money?

sod that.

and yes, maybe he would have bought drugs. If I lived on the streets freezing to death I might buy drugs too. Or booze. Or something to give me a brief respite from the shit that was my life. It may not be the sensible thing, but human beings aren't always coldly logical and often do things that give them some small comfort in bad times.

Or maybe he would have bought something hot to eat or drink.

How bloody superior is it though to decide that a person must be protected from their own choices? Happily step over them in the street and not care about that but got to prevent them from possibly having a smoke or a drink?

DrNick Mon 10-Feb-14 11:36:30

If you read the links, the charities ASK for people not to donate. As they have expertise in this area, I would suggest that they know more about it than us.

DrNick Mon 10-Feb-14 11:37:11

Imagine your kid was the runaway and was given money to feed a habit...

I don't think people are 'willingly feeding an addict', I think people are giving money to other adults who can choose what to do with it. A subtle distinction.

I believe it's only a 'lifestyle choice' for very few people, having worked with homeless people I've never met one who chooses this.

God i want a drink and I have a home, am also on benefits, i often get the whole people on JSA shouldn't waste money on drink. If they are addicts they are not going to stop being addicts because i buy them a cup of tea instead of giving them £2, its not up to me to tell them how to live their lives, so i will give them tea and £2 if i have it.

AmberLeaf Mon 10-Feb-14 11:38:42

I would and have given money. I have also bought cold/flu medicine for a big issue seller who I saw regularly, that day he was unwell with flu but still out selling the big issue. So I bought him some neurofen cold and flu and something to eat and drink. He was a nice friendly man and we always had a chat. He was living in a caravan with his girlfriend who was pregnant. I often wonder how he is now.

TBH I don't care if any money I give ends up being spent on booze. I think if I was on the streets in the cold, I would like a drink to warm me up.

I wish this problem didn't exist, but it is very hard to find housing, especially as a single man with no dependant children.

Dahlen Mon 10-Feb-14 11:39:18

Of course YANBU. It's your money and your choice; no one else's business.

The proportion of substance abusers and MH issues is massively higher among the homeless population than it is in general, so there's a good chance his individual may have spent the money on drugs/alcohol, but there's also every possibility that he would not.

Ultimately, it depends on whether you feel you have the right to gift with stipulations or whether you give freely. How many people give to charities in the street and ask them exactly how the money is going to be spent?

There are many reasons why charities say not to do this and not all of them are to do with the individuals.

Charities are also pressure groups and can be politically motivated (and I agree with their politics) but individuals can choose what to do with their own money.

I think it can be a right cop out for people to say they don't give to individuals - hopefully some give to organisations but obviously not everyone does.

DrNick Mon 10-Feb-14 11:41:11

There was a mner on here years ago who worked in a central London homeless shelter, I went to visit it and her.
She first suggested this and it really got me thinking and she said that many of their customers did live this way by choice. They also rejected all outreach and deliberately made themselves as "unattractive' (iykwim) as they were scared of change, which is understandable.
I found it a totally new way of looking at it.
On a cold night I often think how grim it must be.

AmberLeaf Mon 10-Feb-14 11:41:26

I would rather buy someone homeless something to eat, but I have still given cash.

DrNick Mon 10-Feb-14 11:42:09

I agree Laurie that there is a bit of vested interest in it.

MIl used to do MH outreach and said what harm illegal drugs did to the efficacy of the mental health drugs that they/she were prescribing.

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