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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?

Caitlin17 Tue 11-Feb-14 17:40:41

Agreed Pixie the council's obligations are for the bare minimum. This might be night shelters where people are kicked out in the morning and not let back in.

Just think , have any of you been in the situation where you've locked yourself out but someone will be home to let you in in a few hours time. On a nice sunny day with money in your pocket it's fine, if it's cold and wet and you have no spare cash to sit in a café or pub those few hours drag and drag. Then imagine every day being like that.

HelloBoys Tue 11-Feb-14 09:42:57

I'm now torn between the obviously needy (I don't care if my money supports their drug habit, none of my business) and the career type. If you can call them that.

All I can say is the last person I bought a hot drink and muffin for seemed grateful, I asked her if she wanted a drink, she said what she wanted, I got her a proper coffee rather than instant from cafe (no Starbucks) and even tho she didn't want food got her a muffin and said if you don't eat it give it to someone else.

She really didn't look like she wanted to be sitting on the pavement all day.

Misspixietrix Tue 11-Feb-14 07:50:22

It really isn't as simple as that. For one the council hasn't got enough properties to rehouse everyone. They have a responsibility to under 16s in A way not to adults. I know of two adults in the last few months that have had to sleep in the car because the Hostels were full and Funnily enough walking into a Council didn't make much of a difference to their situation. Caitlin grin at Lady Bountiful way. I always think they remember stuff like this though. I couldnt begin to imagine what an awful existence it must be sad

Caitlin17 Tue 11-Feb-14 00:35:10

I give money fairly regularly, specially if someone has an animal. I'm in the camp of it's not for me to tell you how to spend your money.

I'm also guilty of £10/£20 at Christmas, and on one occasion €20 on the way home from an office party. I had opened my purse in front of the person to discover I had nothing in it bar euros. In the most awful Lady Bountiful mode I suggested he could spend it at Marks & Spencers.

I don't buy food but will buy things like cakes/sweets/dried fruit from places like Pret a Manger . I bought a couple who clearly were alcoholics Green & Black easter eggs. They seemed really touched by it.

MissedSomeBullets Tue 11-Feb-14 00:07:39

Returning to this thread quite late. I just wanted to point out in the situation I was in there were not any places close by selling food/hot drinks (due to how late it was and there being no vendors).

So it was pretty much ignore him or give him money. I chose to give him money. I will never know how he spent it.

I think my friend can be narrow minded at times and probably doesn't consider that people are made homeless for numerous reasons. I think giving aid overseas is a fantastic and worthy cause but I do wish more was done in terms of helping our own.

NewBeginings Mon 10-Feb-14 23:48:26

The council will only provide a roof if you are considered to be in 'priority need' eg particularly vulnerable. Otherwise they just give advice but that might include pointing you in the direction of a shelter.
If the council could house everyone who is homeless we probably wouldn't be having this discussion!

haveyourselfashandy Mon 10-Feb-14 20:38:33

I was a teenager then so it was a few year's ago now.

haveyourselfashandy Mon 10-Feb-14 20:37:16

I always give change to any homeless person I walk past and there's a few where I live! It drives my DP mad and he always spouts some shit about how the money will go on smack,drink and the like.I don't care what they spend it on as long as it helps them get through the night in this weather.
I don't see anything wrong with offering food or drink but I can't bring myself to ask them,I don't know why I just feel stupid iyswim.A man did once ask me for one of my greggs sausage rolls and I gave one to him and his dog the cheeky swine.I also gave him some change and made him promise me he would by some dog food!

AmberLeaf Mon 10-Feb-14 20:15:24

I think two posters have said similar [the council will house you if you are homeless]

That really is utter bollocks.

I expect whoever said that has little to no experience of being homeless/social housing, but I am not surprised at some people thinking homeless people 'choose' to be homeless if that is their understanding of how it all works.

Trust me, it is really not that easy to get a roof over your head, it is also harder for some people than others. Single adults [especially men] with no dependant children don't have a chance on the whole.

nevermindthecat Mon 10-Feb-14 17:48:14

Frog - they won't, you know!

nevermindthecat Mon 10-Feb-14 17:47:37

Homeless people don't wander around in a permanent state of starvation, you know! I don't even like hot drinks very much: would rather have a can of Coke.

I'm torn here because it does feed a habit I don't approve of and that incidentally makes the streets a dangerous place for all of us. But on the other hand there is something utterly soul destroying about being given a bag of chips - bit like food vouchers for benefit claimants.

frogwatcher42 Mon 10-Feb-14 17:40:09

Oops. I see my mistake. I didn't mean that the council will physically house somebody all of the time. What I meant was that they will help you find a place to live. That may be a private landlord or shelter - but it will be a roof over the head.

I thought they all had to legally - they can't put people back on the streets. Our local council is good.

frogwatcher42 Mon 10-Feb-14 17:34:35

The council does. If you present as homeless you will be given a room/roof. They do not put you back on the street.

Round here anyway.

As I have said earlier - I can only talk for round here but having put people through the system it is certainly the case in this authority.

limitedperiodonly Mon 10-Feb-14 16:56:00

The council will house anybody that is truly homeless


Who said that?

Either they're Panglossian or taking the piss or perhaps the Daily Mail.

AmberLeaf Mon 10-Feb-14 16:19:31

The council will house anybody that is truly homeless

That really isn't true.

limitedperiodonly Mon 10-Feb-14 15:37:31

YY NigellasDealer

I have little knowledge of addiction - apart from my own self-medication on wine - but I was shocked that a functioning (and growing less so) alcoholic friend decided to go cold turkey and was seriously ill in hospital in about 36 hours.

I was told that that alcohol is different to other drugs. Not necessarily less dangerous, but different.

limitedperiodonly Mon 10-Feb-14 15:25:01

honeysweet, latara raised the issue of gangs controlling the selling of the Big Issue. I don’t know. I’ve heard of it, and also of the route to self-employed status, which is, in fairness, legitimate, if it’s truly legitimate.

What stopped me buying was seeing a very charming and friendly one-time seller of non-British origin, who I’d always bought from, threaten another seller. It was ugly and looked to me very much like he’d moved up a rung and become a gang-master.

But that’s in my area. I don’t know about yours.

Meanwhile I’ll continue to give money, pet food and gloves, thick tights and socks – I was having a clear out the other day.

I’m holding on to my tampons atm. I am a woman of a certain age and don’t know whether I might still need them. I’m also a bulk buyer, so one day some woman is going to luck in a big way. As she should. But also, she shouldn't have to.

Because being given tampons by some Lady Bountiful is shameful in our Big Society.

I am ashamed that we have come to this and that so many people think that this is okay.

OneDayWhenIGrowUp Mon 10-Feb-14 15:00:32

ISeeYouShiver apologies if you felt I was accusing you of being arrogant and misunderstanding your post. Although I guess by explaining the things that I do personally, as someone who cares quite a bit about homelessness, gives an idea as to what one can do.

MoominsYonisAreScary Mon 10-Feb-14 14:59:33

ive worked on a drug and alcohol impatient ward and yes ive given money to homeless people.

NigellasDealer Mon 10-Feb-14 14:53:44

grin no I not a drug dealer.
I have however bought a shaking alcoholic some drink, as I did not wish to have to deal with them dying in my vicinity.

Honeysweet Mon 10-Feb-14 14:53:16

limitedperiod. I thought, perhaps wrongly, that The Big Issue was reputable, and know what is going on, and deal with situations quickly?

Honeysweet Mon 10-Feb-14 14:49:14
Good link.

NigellasDealer. With respect and because no one really knows anyone on here, is there a reason that you call yourself Dealer?

frogwatcher42 Mon 10-Feb-14 14:47:18

And with our shelter, the 'residents' or users of it do not have to stay and so the very dependent are not excluded. They can come, eat, shower, get support, needle exchange and then go back out to drink or use if they need to. At least they go out with a fully belly and sometimes cleaner than they come in.

The church groups also take some food to the streets on cold nights too.

limitedperiodonly Mon 10-Feb-14 14:46:36

Apologies for not reading the thread. Maybe someone else has mentioned that selling the Big Issue is a passport to self-employed status giving the seller an NI number and access to other benefits.

Therefore it is strictly controlled round here by what appear to me to be quite nasty gangs so I don't buy it.

I reserve the right to give money, pet food and cigarettes - if I smoked - to anyone who touched my heart and not my nose.

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Mon 10-Feb-14 14:44:38

At no point did I ask you as an individual, or anyone, what they do.

I find that kind of question to be arrogant in the extreme and would never presume to demand that sort of information.

When I said "what do you do?" it was not asking you the question what do you do. It was part of the sentence before it and a different way of saying what does one do?

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