Homeless people

Avatar Image
stoofur | 05:27 Fri 15th Jul 2011 | Home & Garden
21 Answers
Hello. Last night I was in town and somebody came up to my friend and I and said he was homeless and asked for money. My friend said no. I gave him a fiver. The guy was really pleased and thanked me.

After my friend and I were talking. He said I should not have given him the money as he would only spend it on drugs. He then asked why are people homeless?

I know this may sound like a dumb question and he and I have pretty good sheltered lives and I could not answer.

I always assumed that there is help available from the Government if you are made homeless. I know I am being naive but is there not help?

Also should I have given him money? I hope I never get into the homeless persons position and I also hope if I did. Somebody would offer me help if I needed it.


1 to 20 of 21rss feed

1 2 Next Last

Best Answer

No best answer has yet been selected by stoofur. Once a best answer has been selected, it will be shown here.

For more on marking an answer as the "Best Answer", please visit our FAQ.
Lots of reasons, including drugs, drink, divorce, some want to, loss of job, it can come on quickly and isn't an easy problem to solve, especially when substance abuse is involved. Governments whichever one need to do more, mental health is also a big problem in so far as many who are in psychiatric homes, where some are closed down, as is happening here, and so they end up on the street.
Your money to do with as you want. There isn't always help for people made homeless and the longer you are on the street, the harder it is to get back into some sort of normal life. Friends who had been on street for some time found this. It isn't naive to give money, but don't expect it to be spent on food, some might, but from my experience it goes on booze. Sad fact of life i am afraid.
A lot of people prefer to buy homeless people food or buy them a hot coffee or something rather than give them cash.
id sooner buy them a mac donalds burger etc than give them money
That's a bit cruel deggers !!! lol
"My friend said no. I gave him a fiver"

He then went round the corner, got into his car and drove home.....
So what if he spent the money on drink or drugs, you gave him a bit of happiness and that's what you wanted to do - so you were both happy for a fiver - bargain!
I would never give a fiver, I can't afford to, but I tend to give something to people sitting on the street, That person might spend it on drugs or drink or may well be a hoaxer, but there are a lot that are not, and one day it may well be me or someone I love that is in that position.

If someone actually approached me and asked for money for some reason I would feel more dubious and a bit threatened and don't think I would give. But obviously I look down and out because I have never been approached.

Unfortunately, em10 says there are people on the streets nowadays that would have been in psychiatric homes, etc. but 'care in the community' was meant to take over and there simply isn't enough money or government support for 'care in the community'.
Carrot99. I agree.
Should have said 'as Em says'
Aye but if it were spent on drugs the happiness would be short lived and then they'd be back worse than before. Some folk need saving from themselves, (although I've no intention to go into the morality of when that is right or wrong).

Have to say if I were on the streets I'm not sure where I'd go for help. I guess if you could find the Sally Army or someplace similar it might help, but I've no information on whether folk find that better than the freedom of the road. As for councils, what do you do ? Maybe you could knock a policeman's helmet off and get a cell for the night.
-- answer removed --
It is a very flawed system, and one that is getting worse. I only speak from personal experience about friends who had lived on the streets, some for years, and the fact is many had mental health problems, and it isn't always about money. But our PCT is shutting units down left right and centre, that house mentally ill people, some of the most vulnerable in our society, and i've been in that situation, not a rough sleeper, but do know that you can't just shove people out into the cold. I have given money to beggars, but it's rare these days, mostly put off by giving to a Big Issue seller a number of times, and then found him and his mates jollying it up with White Lightening, and some other substances, and i'm not going to do that again.
Don't give food or hot drinks: many people who are homeless or very, very short of cash 'freegan' it, i.e. they get food (past shelf-life but still perfectly safe to eat) from supermarkets' or sandwich shops' litter bins. When they close up, some sandwich shops' staff also pack up any left-over sandwiches, bread rolls etc. and offer them to homeless people.
Really useful gifts include: spare underwear, t-shirts and socks; tissues (which can also be used as toilet paper); small bottles of shampoo/sock/toothpaste (not big ones as homeless people have to carry their possessions with them all the time); periodic towels and tampons for women. Also hats, scarves and gloves in the winter.
'The government' doesn't always help. In my country, people are supposed to get help from their relatives, even if they come from broken homes, had abusive parents, and social services intervened when they were kids. I guess it would be more or less the same in the UK, and that 'Baby P', had he reached adulthood, might have ended on the street.
Drug addicts and alcoholics are usually easy to identify, once you've seen a couple of them. They also insult you when you try and give them your little present of toiletries/spare clothes, while people who became homeless because of no family + no job will be ever so grateful and will 'cling' to you: most passerbys act as if they're invisible, so when someone does look at them and even initiates contact, they're over the moon!
Some drug addicts who beg in the city centre, claiming to be homeless, actually have roofs: sometimes it's only a squat, but other times, they are living in council housing, or even in accommodation paid for by their parents. So the money is probably not going to be spent on accommodation, although occasionnally I've had to share a hostel's dorm with tramps (which I didn't enjoy as they fell in the smelly, boozy category).
Where I work (call centre workers, mostly), we've had some temps (British graduates) who rented... beds in a dorm in a backpackers' hostel! They couldn't even afford a houseshare... (and the cheapest houseshares would be too dodgy anyway). Another temp (also a graduate) had a bright idea: enrol at a gym that is open 24/7 and spend your nights there (you can sleep on a bench, if you're lucky, and you can take a shower!).
Say, I'm housesharing with a live-in landlord, I lose my job, and he kicks me out: I won't be able to find rental accommodation on JSA, I won't be able to find a job while living on a street... it's a vicious circle...
If you want to give money give it to the poor people and children in Africa who need our help more than those begging on our streets.
-- answer removed --
Instead of giving to those begging,it would be a good idea to seek out local homeless charities,as they depend on donations and grants to survive. I work for one,and it has become even more of a struggle to keep going,as grants such as those from the lottery fund have dried up (money is going towards the Olympics instead.) We don't just feed and cloth the homeless/disadvantaged/vulnerable...we also help with benefits,provide free access to some medical care,low cost hair cuts( a boost for self esteem),run training programs,self help groups, counselling...whatever it takes to build confidence,and get them away from the physical or mental issues that have stopped them from moving forward in their lives. Far more than the Government will ever do.
No matter how many times I've told myself not to do it, there are situations when I just can't turn my back & walk away. If a small amount of money helps just ONE honest person, then it was worth all the other times I've been conned.
I do feel sorry for the homeless, and will buy them a hot/cold drink, depending on the time of year, and will also buy food for them too, but will never give them cash, won't feed drug habits!.......
Not everyone sleeping rough is down and out - people lose their houses because they can't pay their mortgages if they lose their jobs. One size doesn't fit all. People coming out of the Army aren't entitled to housing either.
I think.."how bad would things have to be before I was begging on the street?" and tend to give them something. (Never as much as a fiver).
I also prefer it to be on their conscience rather than mine, if you see what I mean.

1 to 20 of 21rss feed

1 2 Next Last

Do you know the answer?

Homeless people

Answer Question >>