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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?

BillyBanter Mon 10-Feb-14 11:43:07

Your money, your choice. Once you hand it over, their money, their choice.

lottieandmia Mon 10-Feb-14 11:44:20

It's much better to buy them food or drink IMHO. But this is from someone who hates drugs with a passion for what they do to people's lives.

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Mon 10-Feb-14 11:44:45

Yes, they do. And I am sure they think very carefully about what is best for these people then they get in their cars and go home to their houses and put on their heating and make themselves some dinner.

Meanwhile, the people who must be protected from themselves are hoping they make it through the night.

Now, as I said, it is not sensible, but it is human to want or need something to get you through and that's what people like the OPs friend need to understand instead of demonising these people or dismissing them with a lofty wave of the hand and a pah don't give them anything, they'll only spend it on drugs.

they are people with a shitty life and none of us are that far from our own lives turning to total shit.

And until the government is willing or able to properly address the (very complicated) issue of people with no home, no food and no hope, people such as the OPs friend have to understand that if you are in a totally shitty situation, it is human to be desperate to escape it even for a while. even if doing that is the very thing that is preventing you from making long term changes.

AmberLeaf Mon 10-Feb-14 11:45:06

The reasons behind homelessness are varied and complex.

Who am I to judge.

Edendance Mon 10-Feb-14 11:45:43

You're better off giving money to a homeless charity like shelter or giving food/drink OR supporting big issue sellers by buying a magazine tbh.

NigellasDealer Mon 10-Feb-14 11:46:05

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?
very very well put Iseeyoushiver - the hypocrisy of such a stance is breathtaking.

AmberLeaf Mon 10-Feb-14 11:46:21

Agree ISeeYouShiverWithAntici

Honeysweet Mon 10-Feb-14 11:48:08

I think I am now firmly on to the side of
if someone is an alcholic, it is not wise to give them money for alchohol.
And if they are a drug addict, it is not wise to give them money for drugs.

But I suppose it then comes to, would they access help anyway?

So no. Absolutely food and pop and water and warm clothing and a listening ear and food for their dog. But not cash.

Littleen Mon 10-Feb-14 11:48:18

I know how easy it is to become homeless, have been shockingly close myself, - however I would never give money to a homeless person. Have several times given food or items (socks and gloves can be really useful for them) and feel very happy with that - they have always been really thankful smile Sharing my lunch with them and having a little chat, I think must feel better than just getting cash. smile

Honeysweet Mon 10-Feb-14 11:50:04

It is not about judging. It is about your own behaviour though.

Honeysweet Mon 10-Feb-14 11:50:59

I wouldnt feel good about myself if I was adding to someone else's distress. Or taking them further from accessing help.

Xfirefly Mon 10-Feb-14 11:52:03

I recently gave some money to a homeless man in a city centre. when I saw him an hour later he had a hot drink and some food and his dog was eating something too so I would like to think he used my money to get it.

I will give money or I offer a hot drink etc. I'm a sucker for a homeless dog so I usually get them something blush

NigellasDealer Mon 10-Feb-14 11:52:36

the only thing i ever give homeless beggars is a big fat spliff - that makes them very happy i must say grin

limitedperiodonly Mon 10-Feb-14 12:02:07

It's entirely up to you. At least you wanted to give something.

How does your friend square her few drinks in a warm bar with someone else's possible drug-taking or lonely can of Stella on the cold pavement btw?

Topaz25 Mon 10-Feb-14 12:15:45

It seems rather disingenuous to compare a few social drinks to a drug or alcohol problem that has potentially put someone on the streets and is keeping them there.

limitedperiodonly Mon 10-Feb-14 12:19:13

Do you think so?

AmberLeaf Mon 10-Feb-14 12:20:43

I think Id rather give what that person wants/needs at that time, rather than what makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

Its not about my feelings surely?

NigellasDealer Mon 10-Feb-14 12:23:44

Topaz - the word to stress in your post is 'potentially'

Topaz25 Mon 10-Feb-14 12:25:20

I have given money to homeless people before but prefer to give food or buy the big issue because that is helping them get back on their feet and they are not allowed to sell it if intoxicated. I wouldn't stereotype by saying all homeless people have drink or drug problems but some do so it is a risk to give money. I want to know I'm helping someone not contributing to their addiction. That said I don't think you were BU at all to give money. It was a lovely thing to do but there are other ways to help too.

Topaz25 Mon 10-Feb-14 12:27:59

Yes limitedperiodonly, I do think there is a difference between social drinking and addiction. I think there is a difference between someone who can presumably afford to having a few drinks with friends and someone who cannot even afford food and housing feeding their addiction.

NigellasDealer Mon 10-Feb-14 12:29:55


Misspixietrix Mon 10-Feb-14 12:31:08

YNBU. Its a lovely thing to do OP and as others said it is your money do what you wish to do with it. I went to ask someone if he wanted a meal from McDonalds at Christmas and he said no thankyou I've already got more than enough but its very kind of you. He had got a carrier bag full of sandwiches and dog meat for his dog that people had been giving him all day smile he told us the Shelters available were full to the rafters sad I don't give money since I once had someone quite literally, throw it back at me!

Misspixietrix Mon 10-Feb-14 12:35:53

Xfirefly me too. sad Xmas man's dog got a can of Cesar off me and not just because he was wearing cute reindeer antlers! grin. Interesting point. But I was nearly homeless when I was a teenager. None of the Hostels would take me AND the Dog. Broke my heart to get rid of him.

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Mon 10-Feb-14 12:38:14

But you are starting with an assumption that the person has an addiction. Why? Because they are homeless?

Perhaps they don't take drugs. Maybe they don't drink more than a can or two. Maybe they actually will spend those few quid on a hot coffee and a sandwich. How can anyone first of all decide with no evidence beyond the fact of homelessness that someone has an addiction and secondly that they can sleep on the streets and that's fine, but it is socially irresponsible for them to be given money in case they buy drink or drugs when there is no evidence on an individual level that that particular person is going to do so anyway!

NigellasDealer Mon 10-Feb-14 12:46:58

How can anyone first of all decide with no evidence beyond the fact of homelessness that someone has an addiction and secondly that they can sleep on the streets and that's fine, but it is socially irresponsible for them to be given money in case they buy drink or drugs
with breathtaking arrogance and stupidity essentially, iseeyoushiver; actually it is truly astounding.

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