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To feel stupid for giving to 'fake' homeless man

(40 Posts)
HarrysOwl Thu 28-Mar-19 20:31:25

Urg, there's an article on the Daily Fail (I know, I know, but a friend sent me the link, I swear) about a guy who is local to us pretending to be homeless despite having a house and receiving benefits.

I've given to this fella countless times. Never money (a friend in housing told me to give food/drink instead) but I've bought him coffee, juices, burgers, sandwiches, even friggin suncream last summer. I didn't just randomly give stuff, I asked if he needed anything from the shop and he'd say what he wanted.

I just feel like a right fool. I went out my way to get him things and while I still feel sympathy for his drug habit, I can't shake the feeling that I don't want to give anything to anyone again.

AIBU to feel a bit embittered? Or should I stick to the sympathy? I hate to think what he may have been through to get to that point in life.

AdoraBell Thu 28-Mar-19 20:37:38

YANBU, he is. And you are not stupid. You are compassionate and kind and despite some people are dishonest we need more people like you.

mushlett Thu 28-Mar-19 20:40:50

Had exactly the same thing recently. It makes you feel like an idiot for giving to someone who doesn’t actually need it when you could have bought your kids a little treat or something instead.

CheekyChappy710 Thu 28-Mar-19 20:40:56

99% of them are fake these days it's so my area they work in groups and do shifts. I see one getting dropped off by car every morning. She stays there for a bit then gets picked up again at the same time they drop the bloke off instead. And rotate until 5pm when they knock off and go home!! Yes they have a home. People still give to them. The others locally work in gangs and are all addicts who deal to each other all day and then again knock off about 6pm and go home! So irritating. They make a fortune though as I used to work in a local bank and they'd come and pay their money in each evening!

Chocolateisfab Thu 28-Mar-19 20:41:35

For over 3 years I gave to a man with 2 dogs. Last summer 1 had a bad mange type rash. He was telling people that he needed £28 for the treatment. I rang the nearest pdsa as I knew his /dogs names to offer to pay. The appointment +treatment was to be free. He was denying his dog treatment to keep begging for the £28 needed. I was fuming tbh. Never gave again.
And he is married with a house nearby to boot!!

AnnieMay100 Thu 28-Mar-19 20:42:09

I’ve fell for this trick several times to, unfortunately there are nasty people out there who prey on good hearted people and it disgusts me when there are genuine homeless people who need it. While it makes you feel angry, remember the reason you gave to him out of good faith and don’t let it make you feel bitter. The main thing is you’re aware of him and other locals will be too so he can’t get away with the scam anymore.

RedHelenB Thu 28-Mar-19 20:49:35

Still notouch 9f a way to get m9ney,

HarrysOwl Thu 28-Mar-19 20:50:45

Thanks for the replies, it's upsetting how common this is, it genuinely never occurred to me that he could be housed and supported. What a way to live, though. He's doing it to fund his drug habit so he must be desperate.

I don't know what signs to look for are - how can you tell a genuine person in need? Is it best to not give at all? Seems sad to think that.

LadyHonoriaDedlock Thu 28-Mar-19 20:53:50

Don't feel stupid for being a nice human being. I'd rather give to a fake and feel a bit daft than go through life never even trying to help anyone.

Kolo Thu 28-Mar-19 20:55:46

Big issue vendors?

cornflakegirl Thu 28-Mar-19 20:56:08

I don't give to individuals any more but I do support a charity called Hope Into Action. They are doing brilliant work providing houses but also helping people to build strong support networks.

Preggosaurus9 Thu 28-Mar-19 21:01:32

You're not stupid. I think you've fallen victim to a scam artist.

There's a big problem of people simply not being aware of the amount and quality of homeless help and provision that exists nowadays. Anyone legitimately sleeping rough night after night is doing that as a choice.

We have a man in our town who has a flat and benefits. Sits outside the supermarket every day 10 to 5pm. He must be raking it in.

JonestheMail Thu 28-Mar-19 21:07:52

If you really want to support people worse off than you, give your donations to a charity. If you are particularly interested in supporting homeless people then perhaps either to Shelter or to Trussell Trust (food banks - they take money as well as food).

Personally I divide my donations between the Trussell Trust, Mencap (who do wonderful work supporting people with all kinds of disabilities, including support into work) and a couple of animal charities. I also volunteer for a local charity a bit like CAB.

I don't give to street beggars, despite running the gauntlet to and from the tube every day, because I am always aware that I am probably fuelling someone's drug or alcohol habit and/or supporting gangs.

There are many good causes deserving of support. The key thing is to do something.

topcat2014 Thu 28-Mar-19 21:09:11

@harrysowl - we live in the same town.

I am trustee of a housing charity in the town - PM me if homelessness is something you are interested in - we are looking for new trustees!

I saw the article too. I guess the guy must be having some difficulties in life anyway to end up doing this (drugs etc) - but it is a complex area.

Expressedways Thu 28-Mar-19 21:09:26

There was one when I was at university, very famous in the local area for his crying outside the train station. Friends have a boiler issue, landlord sends round an engineer and guess who it is! Lots of people had given money to him too... at the time we found it pretty funny but with hindsight he probably wasn’t well.

You’re a good person, not a fool.

Sarahjconnor Thu 28-Mar-19 21:10:03

I work with homeless young people and I think it is really important that people understand that very few homeless people beg for money or food. Most work and the majority are far too proud to beg, as I would be. If you want to support homeless people contact a charity local to your home.

InspectorClouseauMNdivision Thu 28-Mar-19 21:11:15

Your friend is right OP. Don't give money. I would even go as far as saying don't give anything. Donate to local homeless charity.

This article from 2017 stayed with me. It's just hearbreaking, but she is right.

AFPH123 Thu 28-Mar-19 21:12:50

There was an article once about a bloke in The midlands who was making £600 on a good day!

TeddyIsaHe Thu 28-Mar-19 21:13:02

99% of homeless people aren’t fake, what a crock statistic.

Don’t feel bad op. I give to our local homeless charity every month and the company I work for gives a percentage of profits every year to homeless and domestic violence charities.

If you really want to make a difference to people’s live never, ever vote Tory. That’s the best thing you can do to help people who are truly suffering.

DaedricLordSlayer Thu 28-Mar-19 21:16:29

I use to give money and food when in town, but then so many appeared and I felt guilty I couldn't help them all, but also articles in local newspapers talked of an increase in fake homeless begging too.

I know genuine homelessness has grown, I want my money to go to help them, So I now donate to a local hands-on charity that provide washing facilities, drop in centre, clothes, food, bedding and help with getting home/job plus advice on other issues they may want to talk about get help with.

The local grassroot charity know who's who and do a lot more good with my money, than me randomly buying food/coffee giving money to anyone sat looking homeless.

Susanna30 Thu 28-Mar-19 21:16:32

You are kind and caring.
Far from stupid.
I've given to 'fake homeless' myself before. Yes, probably helping them out with their drug habit. I prefer to give to charity now and avoid giving to people on the street as, from what I understand, there are a lot of fake homeless round here. Busy part of London = ideal for begging I suppose. I sometimes donate to food bank too. Though I'm also a bit sceptical of that after a friend from the local council told me that many people spend their benefit on fags / drugs / alc then use the foodbank for necessities.

JonestheMail Thu 28-Mar-19 21:17:10

Forgot to say, for anyone who wants to give absolutely painlessly, register with and nominate a charity to receive a small percentage of each online purchase you make. All sorts of retailers are participants including Amazon, Sainsbury's and John Lewis. It costs you nothing extra and costs your nominated charity nothing.

The charity receives approx 1.5% of the value of each purchase you make.

If everyone on MN did this, that would be a huge amount going to charity!

recrudescence Thu 28-Mar-19 21:22:48

You are a good person and not stupid at all. In future, consider donating to a relevant charity instead.

MyKingdomForACaramel Thu 28-Mar-19 21:30:56

You are decent - but please don’t feel conned. Honestly reports scour people making hundreds a day are crazy. Honestly - yes he may have a home etc, but honestly would you want to sit outside in the kissing rain, etc begging? There is still something wrong

Clawdy Thu 28-Mar-19 21:33:55

I hate the Daily Mail stories about homeless people. Someone said carelessly to me the other day " All these so-called homeless guys are driving home to nice houses each night, you know...." Not the ones I see, looking freezing cold and ill, wrapped in sleeping bags on the pavements in Manchester.

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