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To want to help this homeless woman and at the same time don't know if she's saying the truth?

(47 Posts)
HappyHippie Sun 30-Sep-12 12:40:00

I was speaking to a homeless woman that sells the Big Issue. I've already bought the same magazine from her twice, but today she asked me if i could buy milk for her 8 month old baby. I wrote her down the address of the nearest Citizen Advice Bureau, but she said she doesn't  know how to read.

If it was true, is there anywhere she can get help for her and her baby? She says she doesn't have documents (I'm assuming she doesn't have the right to stay in the UK).

So yeah i guess this is not a typical AIBU post, but since this forum is so active I'd thought I'd post it here. Please help me to help her.

seeker Sun 30-Sep-12 12:45:21

Help her if you can and want to. it doesn't matter if she's telling the truth or not.

I think if she's selling the Big Issue she will have already gone through some sort of screening process, so it's unlikely she's in the country illegally.

Scheherezade Sun 30-Sep-12 12:45:42

I'd call non emergency police to contact ss.

seeker Sun 30-Sep-12 12:48:20

Without consulting the woman? Surely not!

AKissIsNotAContract Sun 30-Sep-12 12:48:35

Can you get her vendor number and contact the big issue? They provide a lot of support to vendors.

OhTheConfusion Sun 30-Sep-12 12:49:09

Did she have a baby with her?

HappyHippie Sun 30-Sep-12 12:49:48

Thanks for the replies... what can police do? She'd be really scared!

I want to help her but what good is it to give her a tenner here and there?

I'm thinking of taking Monday morning off work to go with her to the library, use the computer to find information and make calls.

More ideas?

alienreflux Sun 30-Sep-12 12:51:05

she can't rely on strangers to feed her baby?! what happens when you are not around next time? have you spoke to her properly? gone into the details of why she and her baby are on the streets? or where they are staying, definitely don't do nothing, but think and act carefully about what you do, she could be a pro at taking people in like this, stay on your guard, and get to the bottom of it. good luck!

OrangeHorraceTheGoldenOtter Sun 30-Sep-12 12:51:28

If you sell TBI you are not allowed to beg. End off. She is begging, I would assume you are also not alowed to sell TBI as an illegal immigrant and they would check. If she sells 10 magazines she can afford formula - if my baby needed milk I bet I could mange that fairly fast. If you feel bad, buy 2 magazines not 1 and warn her that if she is reported TBI will stop her selling their magazine.

wannabedomesticgoddess Sun 30-Sep-12 12:51:31

Surely if shes selling the Big Issue shes already on someones radar somewhere?

Maybe Im just cynical. But I have heard stories about the sellers of the BI.

HappyHippie Sun 30-Sep-12 12:51:33

No she didn't have the baby with her. She said her child was with her sister, who is also pregnant and apparently her unborn baby has some sort of problem too...

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Sun 30-Sep-12 12:51:51

I wouldn't give her extra cash but if he's asking for formula I would buy formula.

whois Sun 30-Sep-12 12:51:55


Buy milk if you want but I wouldn't give any cash. Whatever the truth she can't be in a very nice situation.

BridgetBidet Sun 30-Sep-12 12:52:00

She's spinning you a line to get money out of you. If her baby is 8 months old and she's that hard up she would be getting milk tokens.

HappyHippie Sun 30-Sep-12 12:54:04

where can she get milk tokens from? That's what I'd like to give her, information on how to get help.

wannabedomesticgoddess Sun 30-Sep-12 12:54:06

OP you sound truely lovely. But you are being conned.

Why dont you use the money you would have bought the milk with and donate to a food bank or homeless shelter?

AKissIsNotAContract Sun 30-Sep-12 12:55:51

If she is a genuine big issue seller with an ID card then she will be getting help from them. Why don't you make a donation to the Big Issue?

HappyHippie Sun 30-Sep-12 12:58:01

Reason why I don't want to buy her the formula is because I've already been scammed like this is South america once. After I bought the formula the woman who was begging that time brought it back to the store... So I'm not very trusting.

At the same time, what if it's true?

Lambethlil Sun 30-Sep-12 12:59:32

Do you have a food bank near you? If she's selling the Big Issue, she should be 'on the radar' and getting the help she should, but try getting her to the FB.

peanutMD Sun 30-Sep-12 13:00:37

Where is she making her formula up for the baby with no home?

Whitecherry Sun 30-Sep-12 13:01:45

She will be on income support.... She will get the healthy start tokens automatically

flyoverthegoldenhill Sun 30-Sep-12 13:02:49

happy shame me once shame on you, shame me twice shame on me.
Get her vendor number and ring TBI. People like her stop people from buying it.

HappyHippie Sun 30-Sep-12 13:02:50

I imagine she must be living somewhere. I thought only homeless people could sell BI.

XiCi Sun 30-Sep-12 13:03:09

OP you sound like a lovely person but it sounds like youve been spun a right yarn. All this talk of sick and hungry babies designed to pull on your purse heart strings. You say youve already been scammed in similar circumstances once. Do you think that you are too trusting or gullible? I would really leave this one alone or I can see things ending badly for you.

Whitecherry Sun 30-Sep-12 13:03:22

You can be living somewhere and still be classed as 'homeless' .... She just won't have a secure tenancy yet.

I was in a 2 bed flat within a hostel and still officially 'homeless' snd was eligible to sell the BI had I wanted

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